Charleston County Council Agrees on Redistricting Plan

December 21, 2011

Investigative Reports

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The NerveIt’s unlikely any of the various redistricting plans being floated will make each and every citizen happy, so it’s not surprising complaints were voiced at the Dec. 6 Charleston County Council meeting.

One complaint was that council had made little effort to engage the public, while another was that deliberations had been made out of the public eye. While there may be some merit to both, it should also be noted that defining districts and meeting all of the criteria set by the Federal Government are not easy tasks.

Under the circumstances, the county has done well, but that doesn’t mean there still won’t be critics.

The county defined two redistricting maps – Options 1B and 2B. Both can be viewed here. During the meeting, the council agreed to adopt Option 1B, though recognizing that the map could be amended in the light of further discussions.

Viewing the table that accompanies Option 1-B (see right hand bottom corner), the boundaries have been redrawn so each district has a population count that is roughly equal.

The average is 38,912 and the variance among the districts is about 1 percent, although District 9 is 2 percent above the average. Two majority/minority districts have been maintained – District 4 with a 56.05 percent black population, and District 5 with 58.6 percent black population.

Council members Henry Darby and Teddie Pryor represent these districts, respectively. District 8 has a population that is 45.03 percent black and is represented by Anna Johnson.

The maintenance of majority/minority districts in large measure was the cause of some convoluted boundaries.

As one speaker noted during the public hearing, there were four different council members representing parts of the Peninsula. The division seems to have been based on color and affluence.

The 1B plan is to be sent to Columbia for review and if adopted by council at the next and final reading, sent to the U.S. Department of Justice for final approval.