South Carolina Democratic State Sen. Gilda Cobb-Hunter
Local lawmakers in South Carolina are opposing a new congressional redistricting map because they say it doesn’t meet local standards. The map creates a new district, but according to Democratic State Sen. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, it doesn’t give minorities and rural residents enough opportunity to impact the election process. In addition, critics say, the map packs more minorities into the district represented by House Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn and that the new district was drawn with the expectation that a Republican would win it. They also believe that race was the predominant factor in drawing the map, which violates the Voting Rights Act.
“I believe strongly Congressman Clyburn could have been re-elected without packing minorities into his district,” Cobb-Hunter told The Times and Democrat. “The new plan expanded that district and split counties left and right so a Horry County-anchored district could be created. I just don’t think that’s right.”
State Sen. John Matthews, also a Democrat, said that the ability of minority and rural voters to impact elections has been “compromised” and that it “ensures all our congressmen will be elected from urban areas.” Matthews predicts that the map will be challenged in court.
“It was done under the cover of darkness with no transparency, and the head of the House redistricting committee is running for [the new district],” said State Rep. Bakari Sellers. “It is unfortunate, but I feel the courts will redraw the district lines that will result in more parity for South Carolina.”