By Stan Welch
Under Anderson County’s redistricting plans, which were recently approved by the United States Department of Justice, the White Plains precinct, which had traditionally been in the Sixth District, will be a split precinct. Under the approved plan, White Plains voters in the area bounded by Highways 8, 29, and I-85 will now vote in District Seven, which also includes Pelzer, West Pelzer and Williamston, as it has in the past. County Councilwoman Cindy Wilson currently represents that area, and is expected to seek reelection to her seventh term.
White Plains precinct residents outside that area will be re-assigned to District Four, County Council Chairman Tom Allen currently represents that area, and he is also expected to seek a third term on Council. Councilman Ken Waters represents the sixth district and will also seek reelection to his second term
Tremendous growth of greater than forty per cent in the northern part of Anderson County, and especially in the Powdersville area, during the last decade necessitated the redrawing of the lines, in order to shift some population into other districts.
Steve Newton, who spearheaded the County’s redistricting efforts, states, “Taking into account that Anderson County has seven council districts, the current population was equally divided into approximately 26,732 residents. DOJ rules state that no district can be more than 5 % larger or smaller than that ideal number.”
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, retained 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 in order to add some voters from District Five.
Every district experienced some redrawn lines, though those changes were generally less significant in other parts of the county.