COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — State lawmakers are one step closer to finalizing one of South Carolina’s new political maps.
Tuesday afternoon, the House Judiciary Committee voted to advance a proposed map of the state’s 124 House districts. This vote comes one week after the draft plan was released.
The proposal was created with data from the results of the 2020 Census and will be used for the 2022 midterm Elections.
The state’s redistricting process has come under fire recently. Organizations and activists have expressed concerns over the House committee’s proposed plan.
One of the biggest complaints is the lack of competitive districts. The nonpartisan organization, League of Women Voters of South Carolina conducted an analysis of the map. They said there are 12 competitive districts in the House’s proposed plan.
Lynn Teague with the League of Women Voters says a lot of this comes down to demographics and where people live but lawmakers appear to be more focused on protecting incumbents.
The League of Women Voters proposed map plan has 19 competitive districts according to their analysis.
Teague said, “Some people may say, ‘It’s only a difference of seven districts’ but that’s more than a quarter million people in South Carolina who would be deprived of the right to decide who they will vote for in November. It will already be decided for them.”
The Princeton Gerrymandering Project conducts nonpartisan analysis of redistricting plans says the House’s proposed plan only has 6 competitive districts.
House members held more than 10 public meetings across the state to hear from South Carolinians.
“We have worked diligently to make districts contiguous and compact from the lines as they were approved by the Department of Justice, federal and state courts in 2011,” Ad-Hoc Committee Chairman Jay Jordan (R-District 63) said.
“We have heard from citizens, interest groups across the state in our effort to fairly and reasonably consider communities of interest, and of course incumbency in addition to the criteria I mentioned,” Jordan continued.
The House Judiciary Committee approved some changes to keep precincts intact.
As of Tuesday evening, the amended proposal hasn’t been shared.
The full House is expected to take up the proposed map on the floor in December.