Charleston reveals draft plans to redistrict city council ahead of elections
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The City of Charleston has revealed a draft plan to redistrict its city council districts ahead of next year’s elections, and they are asking the public to give feedback before it heads to the council.
Tracy McKee, the city’s chief innovation officer, said there are around 150,000 people who call Charleston home, so they have been working since September 2021 to evenly split the city into 12 districts.
“When you see that big of a rise, that is going to create a lot of movement as we look to rebalance those districts,” McKee said.
Click here to see the new interactive map.
Cities are constitutionally required to redistrict following a census to ensure all areas of a city are represented equally on council.
Daniel Island, Johns Island, outer West Ashley and parts of the peninsula could be shifting districts ahead of next year’s elections when the odd council districts will be up for vote.
City leaders said in the past 10 years, its population has increased by 25%, and they kept race in mind when deciding where to draw these new lines.
“We’re concerned about keeping strong minority districts, the majority-minority districts, where we can and where it makes sense,” McKee said, “so we definitely looked at that, but it wasn’t a driving factor in the plan we presented.”
McKee said they have seen an 88% increase in population in the Berkeley County areas and 126% growth on Johns Island in that time.
In the draft plan, the city will be moving District 8, which is currently on the southwestern part of the peninsula, over to cover the entire tip plus the eastern part of Daniel Island to share with District 1.
“After the last redistricting, we were asked a lot about parts of the peninsula being included with Berkeley County, but that’s because we didn’t have enough people in Berkeley County to create one district,” McKee said. “Because our main charge is one person, one vote, and so this time, there’s more people on Berkeley County than can make up a district.”
Over on Johns Island, District 5 will shift over more to the southeast, with Districts 11 and 12 also moving to pick up portions of the old district.
McKee said Johns Island will get more representation on council as a result.
“[District 5] doubled in size, so we really had to figure out who was going to or what districts made sense to go and move out onto Johns Island because none of our council members currently live on Johns Island,” McKee said.
Other changes include to outer West Ashley, as District 10 will shift west to pick up some of old District 5, and District 9 will move northeast to pick up some of old District 10.
The city said they are looking for feedback on the draft plan, which will run until July 18.
Click here for more information or to provide feedback.
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