Delay in Census figures results in accelerated process for redistricting
Prior to last week’s Union County Council meeting, Adam DeMars with the South Carolina Office of Revenue and Fiscal Affairs made a presentation to council about redistricting. The process comes about every ten years as a result of the US Census. The basic rules of redistricting are to keep districts relatively equal in population, adhering to the 14th Amendment’s principle of one person, one vote. Race is a factor in redistricting but cannot be the predominant factor. Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act states that if a district has more than 50% black population, that district should be kept intact as much as possible. Districts must be drawn contiguously and not have parts separated by other districts. Splitting of voting precincts is to be minimized as much as possible. Districts must be as geographically compact as possible.
Ideal district size in Union County is 4541, and districts drawn with a population within 2.5% of that figure are permissible. The redistricting plan has to be finalized before the primary filing date, which is March 16. The process is running later than usual this year because the Census results were delayed due to the pandemic. Before the process is complete, County Council needs to adopt a resolution to abide by the outline process the Office of Revenue and Fiscal Affairs has provided. Council members will need to identify areas of interest to keep intact within their districts, and also get feedback from individual citizens who may have an interest in staying within their districts. Final reading of the redistricting ordinance will likely take place in late February.