CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – The realignment process that determines how each South Carolina is represented on Capitol Hill continues as lawmakers craft the final map that must be redrawn.
On Thursday, members of the public provided their comments on a new Congress card proposal, this one drawn by the staff of the South Carolina House of Representatives, during a meeting of the House Redistribution Subcommittee in Columbia.
According to impartiality Princeton Gerrymandering Project, this proposal would keep the number of competitive congressional districts in the state at one, the 1st Congressional District, represented by Republican Nancy Mace, out of South Carolina’s total seven districts. That district has gone from Republican to Democrat to Republican since 2018, while the rest of the state’s districts are currently seen as lockdowns for one party – 6th for Democrats and the rest for Republicans.
However, the House staff plan would redraw the borders over much of the state, especially in the 1st, 2nd and 6th districts, the last two of which are are currently detained by Republican Joe Wilson and Democrat Jim Clyburn, respectively.
In the Midlands, the proposal would move significant portions of Richland, Orangeburg and Sumter counties to new districts.
None of Richland County would belong to the 2nd Borough, as parts of the county currently do, with the 6th Arrondissement of Clyburn gaining further north of Richland County and the 5th Arrondissement, now represented by Republican Ralph Norman, extending over most of the Richland area in Quartier Wilson.
Orangeburg County, which is currently divided between 2nd and 6th arrondissements, would be entirely owned by 6th under this plan, as would Sumter County, which is now divided between 5th and 6th arrondissements.
But most of Thursday’s public testimony concerned the Lowcountry.
This plan would keep North Charleston in the District of Clyburn, separate from the rest of the County of Charleston in the District of Mace, as is currently the case.
“Why on earth can anyone justify dividing Charleston County into two districts?” Said former 1st District congressman and current Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joe Cunningham. “Let’s face it. We all know why. It’s because North Charleston is predominantly African American, and the goal, clearly, is to bring together that many black voters in one huge black district so that all the other districts around are white.
“North Charleston, we don’t believe it, belongs to Columbia in a district. It belongs to Charleston, ”added Lynn Teague of the League of Women Voters of South Carolina.
The House staff proposal would also move Beaufort County to a different district, 2nd, than the rest of its Lowcountry neighbors on the 1st coast.
“We are a coastal county like Charleston. We share the storms. We share these beautiful waterways, ”said one Hilton Head resident.
The House staff proposal appeared to be better received and would bring more substantial changes to South Carolina’s congressional districts than the proposal drawn by the staff of the State Senate, which premiered at the end of November.
the Senate Staff Plan, described as a “minimal change plan,” has been heavily criticized, saying it is gerrymandered and leaves none of South Carolina’s congressional districts competitive.
“A lot of my friends laughed at my quote in the newspaper that this isn’t a terrible card,” Teague said of the House staff proposal on Thursday. “And this is not a topic we can be enthusiastic about, although we will say the numbers are not terrible.”
House Redistribution Subcommittee Chairman Jay Jordan, R – Florence, said the subcommittee will meet once again after Christmas to incorporate public testimony before approving a plan to send to the Judiciary Committee from the room.
“The outline of the work plan is just a starting point. I repeat: this is a starting point.
Jordan reiterated that his goal in this redistribution process is to draw boundaries that ensure equal voting rights for one person, one voice. Due to population changes over the past 10 years, the current map no longer guarantees equal representation as some parts of the state have lost population while some have grown at a greater rate than others. .
“In order to fully comply with federal law, we intend to map out the seven congressional federal districts of that state within one person of the ideal population,” Jordan said.
The House and Senate must approve the final state congressional map, as they recently did with the new House and Senate maps.
State legislative leaders have said they do not intend to bring those votes to the congressional map until at least January, when they will return to Colombia for their regular legislative session.
The deadline for submitting candidates wishing to run for the seats that will be determined by these new limits is at the end of March.
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