Elections should be decided in voting booths, not map rooms.
In states where legislators draw their own district lines, parties and incumbents are able to draw district lines to their own advantage, so that general elections are decided before they are held. We don't want that for South Carolina.
- Gerrymandering adds to hyperpartisanship.
It is often the most extreme voters who turn out for primaries, and when districts heavily favor one party, there is unlikely to be real competition in the general election. As a result, winners hold views more extreme than most of their constituents, increasing polarization in the government.
After districts are drawn to benefit a legislator, there is little incentive for them to listen to voters or compromise with other legislators, because their next election is already "safe!"
- Voters deserve a choice in the voting booth! Gerrymandering discourages competition within districts. 95% of 2018 legislative races in SC were either uncontested or were won by more than a 10% margin of victory!
What Are the Solutions?
LWV Charleston Area is a part of a nationwide, nonpartisan campaign for redistricting reform. Our ideal solution includes an independent redistricting commission to draw district lines in South Carolina instead of having legislators draw their own lines. We supported bills in the 2018-2020 legislative sessions that would have given developed this commission, but the bills did not receive hearings. However, there is still time to implement safeguards that will protect voters from the effects of gerrymandering for the next 10 years.
In 2021, following the release of the Census results, legislators will redraw district lines. Criteria for the map-drawing process should exclude partisan and incumbent protection. The process of drawing district maps should be open and transparent, and include an avenue for meaningful public input!