Thousands join petition to put single-member districts on Mt. Pleasant ballot

MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - Grassroots group Mt. Pleasant United delivered a petition containing nearly ten thousand signatures to Mt. Pleasant Town Hall Monday in hopes of letting voters decide whether the town should change to single-member district elections.
Currently, the town's eight council members are elected "at large," where candidates compete for empty at-large seats without geographic boundaries. The petition would put a question on the November ballot asking Mt. Pleasant voters to weigh whether they want to convert from at large to single-member districts. With single member districts, Mt Pleasant could be divided into geographic districts with each town council member representing a single district or area.
According to Mary Beatty, who spearheaded the petition efforts, single member districts would ensure more equal representation across the town. "The
people have spoken in a clear, unified voice that we deserve the chance to consider and reform the way we elect our representatives," Mary Beatty said in a press release.
Former Mt. Pleasant Councilwoman Thomasena Stokes-Marshall also joined the group in delivering the petition Monday. "Today is an example of grassroots democracy in action. It is a reminder to our elected officials that power lies with the people, not politicians or special interests," Stokes-Marshall said.

Yet, some Mt. Pleasant residents oppose the proposed change.

"I feel it's a solution in search of a problem," resident Barry Wolff said. "We had a spirited election in 2015, and it didn't seem to be an issue then."

The town is moving out to could end up with a situation now where they think there is unbalanced representation now, but as the population moves out 17, you could very well find the situation reversed," Wolff said."

Charleston County Election Commission will now begin the process of validating the petition's signatures before the single-member districts issue is added to the November ballot.

Nearby cities already using single member voting districts include the city of Charleston, Summerville and North Charleston, among others.
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