South Carolina voters on Tuesday will be asked if they want to change a portion of South Carolina’s Constitution.
Voters will be asked whether or not they want the state’s lieutenant governor to run on the same ticket as the governor in future elections— much like the U.S. president and vice president do now. Currently the lieutenant governor runs independently. There have even been several times in the state’s history (most recently in 2002) where a Republican held one office and a Democrat the other.
The lieutenant governor has little actual power in crafting policy, but is next in line to become governor if something were to happen to the current one. He also presides over the state Senate and casts the tiebreaking vote when needed. The lieutenant governor has also presided over the state’s Office on Aging since 2004.
Glenn McConnell, a Charleston Republican, currently holds the office. He succeeded previous Lt. Gov. Ken Ard, another Republican who resigned after he was charged with several campaign ethics violations.
If voters approve the change, it would still require legislators to ratify it when they return to session next year. Even then, the amendment would not take effect until the 2018 election. That means it is unlikely to affect McConnell.
The lieutenant governor would also no longer preside over the Senate. Instead, senators would elect a President pro tempore to do so. The current President pro tempore is Sen. John Courson (R-Columbia).