By Stan Welch
Anderson County officials are still waiting to receive final approval of its proposal for redrawing the County Council districts. County administrator Rusty Burns describes that approval as “imminent”. “We are anticipating no changes in our preliminary submission to the Department of Justice and should have final approval of the new District boundaries by February 5. As soon as that approval is final, we will of course make that information available to the public.
The final numbers issued by The U.S. Census Bureau last fall, indicated tremendous growth in the Council District Six area, and corresponding population decreases in the current Council District Two area. Those two facts ensured that the Council districts would be redrawn.
Powdersville fueled the growth in District Six, with a 43.1% increase in population, driving an overall District Six increase of 18.3%, which almost matches the 18.7% decline in population for District Two.
Also, under federal election law, a majority/minority district must be drawn if possible. A majority/minority district is one in which minorities make up a majority of the population. That means that, despite an overall countywide minority population, including blacks, Hispanics and all other minorities, of 19.6 %, a minority district must be drawn if possible.
Since the existing minority district, District Two, retains a minority population of 52.7 percent, and is the only such district capable of providing such a densely grouped minority population, it will remain as a minority district, although its boundaries shifted somewhat.
The district lines were redrawn by county staff and forwarded to Columbia for review. The first effort was generally approved, but minor adjustments were required to increase the number of citizens of a certain age range in District Two. That was accomplished by exchanging certain pockets of population between Districts Two and Five. The plan was then re-submitted.
Since South Carolina, as a former member of the Confederate States of America, is still subject to the Voting Rights Act of 1964, which has been extended by Congress, its efforts to redraw district lines are subject to review by the federal Department of Justice, or DOJ.
It is that approval of the plan that the County is awaiting