On Apr. 3 South Carolina Democrats introduced two bills that would reform the state’s voting districts on the SC House Floor. The State reports that bill sponsor Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, of Orangeburg said “We need to change this system of politicians picking voters and get back to voters picking the politicians” in an announcement to reporters at the Statehouse.
The first proposed bill would form a 14 member commission, with two representatives from each district. All 14 members would be barred from holding any public office and would be tasked with researching and solving South Carolina’s redistricting issues.
Though the state legislature currently holds district-drawing power, the second bill is a proposed joint resolution to let voters decide who has district drawing power on the November 2020 ballot.
Many people agree that the current districts do not represent the state’s population fairly.
Cobb-Hunter said that gerrymandering is a national issue citing cases in Pennsylvania and Maryland where State Supreme Courts intervened in the district-drawing process, after both parties were accused of not being able to draw fair districts.
According to the The State, Brett Burnsey, SC director of the Progressive network has been working with Cobb-Hunter on a redistricting bill for over 10 years. He does not expect the bill to pass without bipartisan grassroots legal movement across the state.
Republican Rep. Bruce Banner of Greenville did not comment on either bill focused on redistricting but mentioned he is aware of the measures.
The House Judiciary Committee is currently working on a bill that would allow the Governor to appoint members of the redistricting committee.