Horry County growth spurs Council redistricting talk

Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 11:16 PM EST
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - Voters in Horry County may find themselves in new Horry County Council districts by the next election.

The Horry County Redistricting Committee presented new county council maps and got some mixed feedback on the new lines.

They do this once a decade after each census to make sure the population is evenly distributed.

A county attorney described the process as pressing on a balloon. When you push on one side of a district, it creates a new problem on the other side.

The new map was able to break up the population evenly in the 11 districts, but the changes did push some buttons along the way.

Tyler Servant, with the Horry County Ad Hoc Redistricting Committee, said there are many factors to take into consideration.

“We’ve seen astronomical growth throughout the county in the last ten years,” said Servant. “We have to take that into account when drawing the new district lines.”

The 2020 census revealed Horry County has 80,000 more people in it now than it did 10 years ago.

Those 80,000 people didn’t necessarily disperse evenly throughout the county, which is why the redistricting committee was formed to make sure everyone is equally represented.

“Population from one district to another does not exceed 4% deviation, and we have set a goal at half of that, 2%,” Servant said.

The new map, which sees significant changes to districts two, three, four and six, meets that population criterion.

However, some community members are concerned it would solve that problem by creating some new ones.

“I believe this August body was presented with maps that have some idea of what contiguous lines are, and how these maps look like they were drawn by some little kid in preschool who let paint run down all over the place,” said Cg Cedrick Blain-Spain, with the Horry County Democratic Party.

Blain-Spain believes the new maps would disproportionately split the Black vote between districts two and three and hopes the committee will reconsider making straighter lines between districts.

While he’s worried about a community’s vote being broken up, the Carolina Forest Civic Association is worried about a community’s votes getting clumped together.

Currently, Carolina Forest is broken up, so part of it is in four different council member’s districts.

The new map would bring those four pieces together to form one - the Carolina Forest district.

“That’s a 75% reduction in Horry County council representation for Carolina Forest. As an unincorporated community, we’ve relied on the county council for their support,” said Carole Vansickler, with the Carolina Forest Civic Association.

The committee’s job now will be to take that public input, and see if they can accommodate it on the new map.

“I stress preliminary because this is just one step in the process. We look forward to having more public hearings in the future to hear input from all the residents of Horry County.”

The redistricting committee will likely have these maps finalized for a vote from the county council sometime in the next couple of months.

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