Our Town staff and leaders deal with many issues that affect our residents. They range from short-term rentals and beach parking to workforce housing and redistricting. These are important concerns that I’m sure we all have questions about.
Town staff is doing a phenomenal job engaging the community through a series of virtual and in-person workshops and communicating a vast amount of information about these issues. I will use my next several columns to provide you with information on our progress addressing these issues.
Let’s start with redistricting. This is a very important process for our community, which is divided into six Town Council wards. Redistricting is the process of redrawing state legislative and congressional district boundaries. This occurs every 10 years following the decennial U.S. Census, and is based on numerous criteria, including population and geographical boundaries.
It affects all jurisdictions that have single-member elections, whether for members of Congress, state legislatures, county councils, city councils, school boards, etc., and seeks to equalize population among districts.
The state Constitution and state law, among other authorities, require South Carolina to redraw electoral lines. Local governments have the authority to redraw lines for their districts.
Federal law dictates that redistricting lines be drawn to allow for equal population and comply with the Voting Rights Act to ensure minorities have an equal opportunity to elect representatives of their choice. Districts must be drawn contiguously, so that all parts of the district are connected to each other.
To help our community further understand how this process works and how redistricting affects our ward boundaries, Town Council’s Finance and Administrative Committee along with Town staff have planned a series of workshops. The workshops are scheduled as follows:
• Feb. 3 at 4 p.m. at the Hilton Head PSD Community Room, 21 Oak Park Drive.
• Feb. 14 at 1 p.m. at the Hilton Head Branch Library, 11 Beach City Road.
• Feb. 16 at 10 a.m. at Town Hall in the Benjamin M. Racusin Council Chambers, 1 Town Center Court.
• Feb. 22 at 2 p.m. at the Island Recreation Center, 20 Wilborn Road.
Community input is vital to the process. It ensures that we are taking into consideration all concerns as we finalize ward boundaries. If you are unable to attend any of the workshops, you still can provide input and ask questions about the redistricting process through the Town’s website at hiltonheadislandsc.gov/redistricting.
John McCann is the mayor of the Town of Hilton Head Island. JohnM@hiltonheadislandsc.gov