County Council Passes Second Reading of Redistricting Ordinance

Supervisor Frank Hart points out a change in the map to Elise Ashby

Daniel Prince

Newest Census figures show 6% decrease in population, but not everyone may have filled it out

Union County Council met at noon yesterday to view the proposed reapportionment plan for the County Council districts and to hold second reading on the reapportionment ordinance. The map is based on the new Census figures for 2020, which showed a 6% decrease in the county’s population, to 27,244. That number is based on those who actually filled out the census, so those who might not have filled it out on their own or were missed by the non-response follow-up were not counted.

District totals needed to be tweaked some, as state law requires no more than 10% deviation from the ideal district size between the most and least populous districts, and the current data showed the county at 11%. At its last meeting, council tasked the SC Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office with drawing up a new district map to conform with all laws. The office’s goal was to get to a deviation of no more than 5% between the most and least populous districts.

With its proposed map, the difference is 3.8%. Supervisor Frank Hart said that District 6, which comprises much of the City of Union, saw growth, so some people were taken from there and moved into District 3. Part of the southern portion of District 3 was then moved into District 2 to help meet its population goal. District 2 is the largest district by area in the county, wrapping around much of the western part of the county and across the southern and southeastern parts of the county. Despite the large land area, the proposed district has only 6 fewer people than the ideal district size of 4541. Much of District 2 contains national forest land and less densely populated areas of the county.

Hart said he asked if the district could be drawn more compactly, but the RFA office said that would not be possible without making major changes to all districts. Hart said that was not feasible due to the time crunch council is under to approve the map prior to the filing deadline in March.

District 4 has the highest population under the proposed map, at 4602 people, 1.35% above the goal. District 6 has the fewest at 4429, 2.46% below the goal. District 5 is the only majority black district in the county, and by law, that could not change. That district is 20 people above the goal.

The map can still be tweaked slightly before the final reading, which is slated for next Tuesday’s County Council meeting. Council voted unanimously to approve the second reading of the ordinance.

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