1st Place Honors
under 50,000 circulation


Cindi Scoppe

The Post and Courier

Election access and integrity have devolved into culture-war issues across the country in recent years, and that's been the case in the always politically charged state of South Carolina. Scoppe pushed back against this trend, working to keep lawmakers and the public focused on actual problems that need to be solved. In columns and editorials, she has advocated for early voting, state intervention in incompetent county election commissions, changes to voting laws and creative approaches to reduce the built-in biases in the election system that encourage hyper-partisanship.

Her deep institutional knowledge and straight-forward style provided critical insight and context to the debate, and helped create the middle ground that allowed S.C. lawmakers from both parties to come together and unanimously pass legislation to expand voting options, eliminate actual problems with our election system and reject the sorts of extreme changes that legislators have been passing in both red and blue states.

The judges said she did a great job bringing fresh material in, explaining background and bringing them along to be on her side on a topic that is very much in the public interest.  Even in its criticism, they said the columns were balanced and fair, which gave weight to the persuasiveness of the piece. Judges also were impressed that the columns didn't come across as partisan and broke down the specifics using everyday language, something they said would be good for people who might not be as interested in politics.  One judge commented that she felt like she could print this out and hand it out in her home state, saying: This is how elections works.  This is how voting works!

Read her entry:  click here to view the following editorials

  • Legislators need to be less involved in running SC elections, not more
  • Save SC tax dollars, voters' time with in-person and mail-in absentee for all
  • Voting law debates aren't mainly about stopping fraud, or protecting voting rights
  • SC early voting bill is much improved. Here's how to make it better
  • SC House refused to limit voters' choices.  Now let's expand them
  • SC Election Commission spat exposes misplaced priorities of ... everyone