SC Constitutional Ballot Commission approves amendment wording for November

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South Carolina’s Constitutional Ballot Commission gave its unanimous approval Thursday to the wording of a constitutional amendment that will be on November’s ballot. The commission is made up of Attorney General Alan Wilson, Director of the State Election Commission Marci Andino, and Ashley Harwell-Beach, representing the Director of Legislative Council.

If the amendment passes, it would change the way South Carolina’s superintendent of education is chosen starting in January 2023. Now, voters elect the superintendent. The amendment asks voters if they want to change that so future governors would choose a superintendent, with the consent of the state Senate.

The Constitutional Ballot Commission makes sure that any amendment questions are understandable for most voters. The ballot will list the actual wording of the amendment with an explanation underneath that.

“The amendment to the Constitution is very long and legalistic,” Attorney General Wilson said. “The explanation is one short sentence. And basically when we meet, we want to distill this down to what is it you’re voting for? And what you’re voting for is do you want to elect the superintendent of education or do you want the governor to appoint the superintendent of education?”

Here’s the wording of the actual amendment:

“Must Section 7, Article VI of the Constitution of this State, relating to state constitutional officers, be amended so as to provide that beginning in January 2023, or upon a vacancy in the office of Superintendent of Education after the date of the ratification of the provisions of this paragraph, whichever occurs first, the Superintendent of Education must be appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate; to provide that the appointed Superintendent of Education shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor; and to require the General Assembly to provide by law for the duties, compensation, and qualifications for the office?”

The accompanying explanation reads:

“A ‘Yes’ vote will require the Superintendent of Education be appointed by the Governor with the consent of the Senate. A ‘No’ vote maintains the current method of electing a Superintendent of Education.”

Within the last few years, voters have approved constitutional amendments to make the state adjutant general a position appointed by the governor instead of being elected, and to have candidates for lieutenant governor run on the same ticket as candidates for governor instead of running separately.

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