From staff reports
Beaufort County Administrator Eric Greenway announced the redistricting timeline, criteria, and guidance at Monday’s County Council meeting.
“It is our duty as a County staff to provide fair, legal, and well-thought-out districts that will ensure one person, one vote,” said Greenway. “Appropriate boundaries will provide confidence to our citizens that the County Council represents people’s diverse interests and needs.”
Redistricting is the process of enacting new district boundaries. District lines are redrawn every 10 years following the completion of the United States census. Federal law stipulates that districts must have nearly equal populations and not discriminate based on race or ethnicity. Boundaries must also be as contiguous and compact as possible and keep communities of interest in their entirety.
On Oct. 27, Frank Rainwater, Executive Director, and Victor Frontroth, from the South Carolina Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office briefed Council Members, staff and the public on the 2020 census data overlaid on the current County Council map. Those interested can watch that meeting at https://www. youtube.com/watch?v=EskyKLhphgc.
The speakers pointed out the population shifts south of the Broad River, what County staff will need to address during the redistricting process and all the rules and factors that will need to be followed.
“This will be one of the toughest redistricting efforts I have been a part of in the last 20 years,” Director of Mapping and Applications Dan Morgan said. “The growth of population in the south, the growing Hispanic community, and the requirements mandated by law will not leave much room for many options in how we draw the district boundaries.”
The County will also launch a website with information and, eventually, the maps for public comment. A redistricting video posted to YouTube will provide a virtual option for all citizens unable to attend.
Through Nov. 24 – Staff will analyze key data points, receive feedback from council members, and draw district maps.
Nov. 24 – Maps will be posted for public review.
Public Meetings: All public meetings will be from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Nov. 29 – Public Hearing for Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 location to be determined.
Nov. 30 – Public Hearing for Districts 5, 6, 7, 9 location to be determined.
Dec. 1 – Public Hearing for Districts 8, 10, 11 at Hilton Head Island Recreation Center.
Dec. 2-6 – Staff will take public comments and see if any adjustments to the boundaries will need to be made.
Dec. 5 – The final two maps will be presented to the Executive Committee to decide which map to recommend for approval.
Dec. 13 – First Reading at County Council meeting.
Jan. 10 – Second Reading at County Council meeting.
Jan. 24 – Third and Final Reading at County Council meeting.
Once the map has passed County Council, it will be submitted to the South Carolina Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office to review and then enact the new district maps.
Residents can find their district at https://gis.beaufortcountysc.gov/voterregistration/. Select District Locator at the bottom of the screen, type in address, the map will zoom in and highlight the property. Click on County Council Districts.
For more information, please contact Dan Morgan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 843- 255-2535.