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South Carolina voters next week will have the opportunity to vote on four proposed amendments to the state constitution, and election officials want to make sure people understand the questions before they get to the polls.
One ballot question is over whether South Carolina residents should have a constitutional right to hunt and fish. Legislators overwhelmingly voted to add the measure to this year's ballot, arguing that the amendment is needed in case gun control forces eventually try to restrict the sports.
Another proposed amendment asks voters to determine if a secret ballot is a fundamental individual right in deciding whether workers are represented by a labor union. The measure is an attempt to pre-empt stalled federal "card check" legislation that would make it easier for workers to unionize through a signature drive. Republican lawmakers say that measure would strip workers of the right to vote for unionization by secret ballot. Democrats said employers and workers can request votes at any time during union-organizing attempts.
Two other ballot questions deal with financial proposals. One ballot question would increase the amount of money that state government must maintain in its general reserve or "rainy day" fund from 3 percent to 5 percent of the previous fiscal year's revenue.
Another proposal would require that the first priority of the state's capital reserve fund would be to replenish that rainy day fund instead of offsetting midyear budget cuts at state agencies.
Officials with the State Election Commission encourage voters to read through the proposed amendments ahead of time, just like they would do research on a candidate.
"If voters can be familiar with those questions on Election Day it can reduce the amount of time that they're in the booth," said commission spokesman Chris Whitmire, adding that officials will have copies of the questions and their explanations available at polling places.
Explanations of the proposed amendments are on the commission's website.