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GtCounty General News

Posted on: December 14, 2021

First draft of redistricting maps released

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Georgetown County has received the first version of maps showing two options for what new County Council districts could look like next year. Districts on the federal, state and local levels must be redrawn every 10 years after new census numbers come in to reflect changes in the population and ensure fair and equal representation for all residents.

Georgetown County contracted with the state office of Revenue and Fiscal Affairs (RFA) to guide it through the redistricting process and create the maps which Council will review and make a decision on in January. The first draft of the maps was received Monday and county officials have just started reviewing them. The maps were released to the public at 5 p.m. today on the Redistricting page of the County’s website, gtcounty.org/redistricting. The district lines for County Council are also used by the Georgetown County School Board. 

Key considerations for the RFA in developing the maps – and for Council in ultimately selecting a map – are as follows:

  • The requirement of “one person, one vote” under the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment.
  • The Voting Rights Act.
  • Traditional redistricting principals.
  • Input from Council members
  • Other applicable court decisions and federal and state laws 

The 2020 census saw the county’s total population increase by 5.4%. Just under 30% of the county’s population is minority. The RFA told the county the new maps were a challenge due to “the compactness of the minority community.”

Highlights of each draft map and changes in comparison to current district lines are as follows:

Map 1

  • Attempting to create equal population throughout each district according to the Voting Rights Act did not have a significant impact to the voting age population or racial makeup of the districts.
  •  Map 1 consists of one “majority minority” and two “majority influential” districts with respect to voting age population. 
  • Map 1 used overall population, which reduced the voting age population of two of the three majority minority districts.
  • The deviation range was reduced from 36.32% to 8.43%.
  • 114 census blocks were shifted.
  • 11 voting precincts were affected
  • Map 1 took into consideration as many natural boundaries as possible to reduce the burden to voters and voting precincts.
  • Map 1 also minimizes as many changes as possible to reduce the burden on voters and voting precincts.
  • Current incumbent residences for both County Council and School District seats were taken into consideration.

Map 2

  • In attempting to create equal population throughout each district according to the Voting Rights Act, voting age population was taken into consideration.
  • Map 2 kept three “majority minority” districts.
  • The deviation range was reduced from 36.32% to 7.77%.
  • 148 census blocks were shifted.
  • 17 voting precincts were affected.
  • As many natural boundaries as possible were taken into consideration.
  • Due to the compactness of the minority population, voter precincts were impacted.
  • In attempting to retain the majority minority districts, people were shifted into new districts. Trying to reduce the number of impacts was a significant challenge.
  • Current incumbent residences for both County Council and School District seats were taken into consideration.

County Council is scheduled to give second reading to an ordinance to adopt a redistricting plan on Jan 11, with third reading and a public hearing following on Jan. 28. Although first reading of the plan will take place at County Council’s December meeting tonight, the reading is by title only and will include no discussion. 

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