With the 2010 Census results showing strong growth in South Carolina, the state’s congressional districts and legislative seats will have to be reorganized.
Every ten years, the General Assembly has the responsibility of redrawing the lines for both legislators and Congress. Because of its population growth, South Carolina will also gain an extra seat in Washington next election. Most analysts expect the Seventh Congressional District to be situated in the Grand Strand.
Legislators face a tough challenge of numerically balancing the population as equally as possible in each district, while not infringing too much on those who currently hold the seats. The population shift into cities means there will likely be fewer rural representatives in the state Legislature in 2013, so individual members will likely put up a fight to save their districts.
The redrawing will also have an impact on the district represented by Rep. Jim Clyburn, the lone congressional Democrat remaining in South Carolina. Clyburn’s seat is in a minority-majority district, specially drawn to give it a majority black population. With the population shifting away from the largely-rural Sixth District, however, legislators will have to tread carefully in dealing with the state’s senior member of its.
The public can help. The state Senate will hold a series of 10 hearings across the state over the next two months, beginning March 23rd in Orangeburg.
The Legislature will then begin the tough job of redrawing the district lines over the summer. Lawmakers will likely vote on the final changes in August. Because the state is covered by the Voting Rights Acts, any changes would also have to be cleared by the US Justice Department.
Complete schedule of SC Senate hearings:
March 23 Orangeburg Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College
March 24 Sumter Central Carolina Technical College
March 28 Beaufort Technical College of the Lowcountry
March 29 Aiken Aiken Technical College
March 30 Rock Hill York Technical College
March 31 Greenville Greenville COunty Council Chambers
April 4 Conway Horry-Georgetown Technical College
April 5 Columbia Gressette Senate Office Building
April 6 Florence Florence-Darlington Technical College
April 7 Charleston Trident Technical College