NAACP renewing effort for Beaufort single-member districts

BEAUFORT, S.C. — The NAACP is renewing its efforts to create single-member districts on Beaufort City Council where there has not been a black member in more than 20 years.

The Beaufort Gazette reports the civil rights group will begin collecting petition signatures this month to get a referendum on the ballot next year.

Currently the council’s four members and the mayor are elected at-large.

NAACP local branch president Ken Fields says the current system is unfair.

Mayor Billy Keyserling has no problem with the group pushing for change.

But Keyserling says the lack of a black council member is not because of at-large elections, but more likely because of a lack of participation by blacks on boards and neighborhood associations that often leads to council election.

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Information from: The Beaufort Gazette, http://www.beaufortgazette.com