1. What is redistricting?
Answer: Redistricting means redrawing the boundaries of districts from which public officials are elected. Members of the United States House of Representatives, the South Carolina Senate, and the South Carolina House of Representatives are elected by voters who live in those districts.
2. When is redistricting done?
Answer: Federal law requires that a census of the population of the United States be taken every ten years. The final census data becomes available to the state the year after the census is completed. The census data for South Carolina will be available before April 1, 2011.
3. What is the difference between redistricting and congressional reapportionment?
Answer: Reapportionment occurs every ten years when the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are reapportioned among the 50 states in accordance with the latest federal census data. Reapportionment occurs when all of the census data is in and states are assigned seats in Congress according to their populations. As a result of the 2010 census, South Carolina has been assigned a new seventh congressional seat. Redistricting is the process of changing the district boundaries. The number of members per district does not change, but the districts’ boundaries do. The State Constitution sets the number of State Senators at 46, the same number of counties in the state, so every 10 years the State Senate undergoes redistricting, not reapportionment.
4. Why does the South Carolina Senate have to be redistricted?
Answer: The United States census reveals how the state’s population has changed over the past decade. As a result of these changes in population, invariably some districts will have more population than others. Because the United States Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause requires each Senate district to be approximately equal in population, the Senate district boundaries have to change every 10 years, in order to equalize their population.
5. What process or procedures does the S.C. Senate use to redistrict?
Answer: The Chairman of the S.C. Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Glenn F. McConnell, will appoint a redistricting subcommittee which will be charged with drawing a plan for the Senate’s consideration. Public hearings will be held around the state shortly after the census data is released to South Carolina, so that the public can tell the Redistricting Subcommittee about factors it should consider in the course of its work.
After hearing from the public, the Redistricting Subcommittee will develop a list of criteria to use as a guide to developing a plan. The Redistricting Subcommittee will also hold public meetings in order to allow the public to comment on proposed redistricting plans. Interested groups will be able to submit plans for the subcommittee to consider. The Redistricting Subcommittee will propose a plan to the Senate Judiciary Committee in the form of a proposed bill. If the Senate Judiciary Committee approves the proposed plan, then the bill goes to the full Senate for two further readings. If it receives a majority vote, the bill will be sent to the House of Representatives. If the House passes the bill, it will be submitted to the Governor for signature or veto. If the Governor does not veto the bill, the Senate Redistricting bill will be enacted into law. In the event of a veto, the House and Senate would each have to override the Governor’s veto by a two-thirds vote in order for the bill to become law. Once enacted, the new redistricting law will have to be pre-cleared by the U.S. Department of Justice or the United States District Court for the District of Columbia before it can take effect.
6. Who are the members of the S.C. Senate Judiciary Redistricting Subcommittee?
7. Who are the members of the S.C. Senate Judiciary Committee?
8. How do I sign up to be notified of Redistricting Public Hearings or of Redistricting Subcommittee meetings?
Answer: Please send a request to SenateRedistricting@scsenate.gov providing your name, mailing address, e-mail address, and telephone number.
9. How do I submit a redistricting plan for the Redistricting Subcommittee to consider?
Answer: Please see documents under Plan Submissions posted on our website.
10. How do I get copies of a proposed redistricting plan?
Answer: Copies of proposed plans will be posted on the website.
11. How do I contact the Judiciary Committee staff working on the redistricting process?
Answer: Please contact Debbie Hammond by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at (803) 212-6625.
12. How can I learn who represents me?
Answer: Find Your Legislator
13. How do I contact my State Senator, House Member, or Congressional Member?