Charleston County Council will take a final vote on its new voting districts next week, but not all members are happy with the proposed plan.
County Council has narrowed to one its options for redrawing the nine districts, but some members said they think the proposed plan likely will be tweaked before it is passed. The group will take a third and final vote on the plan at its meeting Tuesday.
Redistricting is a once-a-decade process to make sure political district lines reflect population changes revealed by the U.S. Census. Dorchester and Berkeley county councils and Charleston City Council already have approved such plans.
Charleston County Council last week voted 6-3 in favor of a plan that is marked 1B on the county's website. That was a preliminary vote; the plan still requires final approval.
Councilman Vic Rawl said he supports the plan, but "I think there's going to be tinkering and tailoring."
Redistricting may not be the top priority for typical county residents, he said, but the issue is very important to groups such as the Republican and Democratic parties, local mayors, the League of Women Voters and the NAACP.
And "each has a different reason for their concern," Rawl said.
County Council Chairman Teddie Pryor said he is opposed to the plan. He voted against it last week, he said, because he doesn't think it will get approval from the Justice Department.
One reason is because the plan does not maintain enough districts that have a black majority, Pryor said. "There's no point in submitting something that won't work," he said.
Under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, election plans are required to be drawn in a way that is fair to minorities. Section 5 of the act requires select states, mainly in the South and including South Carolina, to get "pre-clearance" from the Justice Department or a federal court before making any official change to an election plan.
Rawl said he thinks the plan council approved last week would meet all the Justice Department's criteria. He, like most members, wasn't thrilled with the options presented to council, he said. "I don't like any of them. Who does?" Rawl said. "But I can accept it."