Charleston leaders discuss redistricting options

VIDEO: Charleston leaders discuss redistricting options

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Every ten years the City of Charleston adjusts the city’s district lines based on growth across the Lowcountry, but the 2020 US Census is expected to be delayed significantly.

City officials are hashing out their options on how to handle the upcoming city council elections without these numbers at a meeting Tuesday.

While half of Charleston’s City Council is up for re-election this November, district lines that determine who represents what area are based on the census from ten years ago.

Councilmember Peter Shahid says both the population and the demographics have changed drastically since the last census, and going ahead with the elections would not adequately represent the population.

“This is their city,” Shahid said. “This is their election.”

Council members and the city’s legal team are holding a special meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday to lay out their options and decide how to proceed.

Shahid says a couple of those options could include keeping the district lines as they are, holding the election as planned, but then holding another election when the 2020 census numbers arrive.

He says another option he would consider would be delaying the election until census numbers come in, although Shahid says they do not know when that will be.

At this point, Shahid says it’s very unlikely they will have time to redistrict before November, meaning without adjustments it would be two years before the city redistricts.

Shahid says the growth in some spots, combined with the possible decrease in population on the peninsula makes this year’s redistricting incredibly important.

“We’ve got a lot going on in the city,” Shahid siad. “We’ve got redistricting we’re dealing with, we’ve got bridges we’re building, affordable housing that we’ve been wrestling with, flooding issues we’ve been dealing with. All wonderful things. I mean the city is very alive and progressing.”

Shahid says this could be the first of several meetings or they may make a decision Tuesday.

Anyone can tune into the special City Council meeting at 5 p.m. by calling 929-205-6099 and using access code: 912096416.

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