|Congressional Boundaries||Drawn by legislature|
|State Boundaries||Drawn by legislature|
Census-related Redistricting Timeline Delays
|Final Map Deadline||2022-03-30|
State LegislativeAlert: Low
|Final Map Deadline||2022-03-30|
South Carolina's state legislative and congressional districts are drawn by the Legislature by ordinary statute, and are subject to the Governor's veto. The Legislature can override vetoes with a two-thirds vote in each chamber.
While South Carolina, like all states, must follow the federal requirements of one person, one vote and the Voting Rights Act, South Carolina’s state constitution does not list additional criteria. That being said, the South Carolina state Senate and House committees for redistricting adopted guidelines for both state legislative and congressional redistricting in 2011, requiring that districts be compact, contiguous, preserve political subdivisions, preserve communities of interest, preserve the cores of prior districts, and avoid pairing incumbents.
While South Carolina law does not require public hearings, the legislative committee on redistricting held ten hearings between March and April 2011. In addition, the state Senate committee issued guidelines for citizens to submit their own maps for consideration. It is likely that there will be similar opportunities for public input in 2021.
In the 2011 cycle, plaintiffs brought a federal challenge (Backus v. South Carolina) against the state legislative and congressional districts based on an alleged unconstitutional racial gerrymander and a violation of the Voting Rights Act. The case reached the Supreme Court, which upheld the maps, summarily affirming the lower court’s opinion that rejected the plaintiffs’ claims.
This will be South Carolina’s first cycle without the protections of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which was struck down in the 2013 Supreme Court case Shelby County v. Holder. In the absence of preclearance requirements to protect communities of color, observers should closely monitor every step of the redistricting process to ensure fair treatment for all.
In the 2019-2020 legislative session, both Democrat and Republican state representatives sponsored SC H3054, a bill that would create an independent redistricting commission for both state legislative and congressional districts, as well as establish criteria that exclude protection of incumbents or parties. However, the Legislature went into recess without any subcommittee hearings or testimony on the bill.
In 2021, participate in the Legislature’s public input process.
- Obtain South Carolina redistricting data from OpenPrecincts.
- Start to plan out what defines your community – whether it’s a shared economic interest, school districts, or other social or other cultural, historical, or economic interests – and how that can be represented on a map. This will come in handy once the Legislature starts collecting feedback.
- Use software tools such as Dave's Redistricting App and Districtr to draw district maps showing either (a) what a fair map would look like, or (b) where the community you believe should be better represented is located.
Read the Common Cause Activist Handbook on Redistricting Reform to learn about what reforms have been successful in the past, and what steps to take to enact reform in the future.