Charleston Council Hears Redistricting Plan

May 2, 2011

Investigative Reports

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The NerveBy Marc Knapp
Citizen Reporter

The Charleston City Council endured a marathon of activity on April 27, with one of the key issues discussed being redistricting.

At a redistricting workshop, city staff presented Plan C to the council as they sought to shape a proposal that would gain approval from council members.

Plan C followed on the heels of plans A and B, presented to the council at a meeting two weeks earlier. Like the two previous plans, the latest plan combined District 3 and 5 into a single district, to be called District 3.

There were other changes in suburban areas, as well. Staff noted that Plan C had the smallest deviation, 0.37 percent, of any of the plans presented.

Deviation is a measure of the equality in numbers of population in each district. The smaller the deviation, the greater the equality. The deviations of the other plans exceeded 2 percent. To see details of all three plans, click here.

However, some council members were still unhappy and thought that boundaries could be defined to better protect African-Americans majorities.

Staff is to hold workshops for council members at 75 Calhoun Street to enable them to define boundaries themselves. But they were warned that if they add to a district they must also take away elsewhere.

Council must sign off on the new districts by June 1 if they are to be used in the election in November. City staff warned of legal risks if the new districts aren’t in place in time. The U.S. Department of Justice requires a 60-day period for review after council agrees to new districts.