Gerrymandering in South Carolina and Why It Has To STOP!
Currently, our state politicians draw the maps for voting districts. They do this behind closed doors, using computer analysis designed to make the voting districts favor the incumbents so they can more easily get reelected. Sometimes they pack supportive voters into their own district, sometimes they draw the lines to move competitors into other districts. There are many ways to rig the system in their favor. This is what is known as gerrymandering – politicians manipulating the voting maps to favor themselves. Politicians are choosing their voters instead of the voters choosing their politicians!
How and Why Gerrymandering is Bad:
It eliminates competition – often only 1 candidate is on the ballot because competitors have no chance. South Carolina has the least competitive elections in the U.S. – about 70% of our elections have only 1 candidate to choose from, and many others have only token competition.)
When voters have no choice, they feel their vote means nothing and they do not bother to go vote. Less than 20% of eligible voters in South Carolina actually vote.
When politicians are assured of being reelected, politicians become less interested in serving the voters and more interested in serving special interests who lobby them and donate to their campaign funds. They also become more prone to corruption. South Carolina has a sordid history of corrupt politicians.
Also when politicians are assured of being reelected, they become entrenched in their positions, more extreme, and less willing to compromise. This results in gridlock in our government.
Our state Constitution gives the people the ultimate political power. Gerrymandering undermines the Constitution and transfers power from the people to the politicians. This needs to stop!
Here is an example of how much the system is rigged in favor of the incumbents. Look at how much money they get in campaign donations and how little competition they have in the General Election! These are the State politicians representing Horry County, SC, and data from the 2016 election.
Now consider how well South Carolina performs as a state compared to the other states:
South Carolina Ranks:
- 48th in education
- 45th in wages
- 42nd in life expectancy and tax burden
- 8th in prison population
- 7th in STDs
- REFUSED Medicaid expansion
Clearly the current system is doing little to improve our lives as citizens of South Carolina!!
How You Can Help End Gerrymandering in South Carolina!
The politicians are very unlikely to stop gerrymandering unless they have to, because it puts them at risk of not being reelected. Many other states have ended gerrymandering by going to Citizens Commissions to draw the voting maps, putting power back into the hands of the voters instead of the politicians. Voters in some states have done this by getting a statewide referendum on the ballot to go to a Citizens Commission. Statewide referendums are not allowed in South Carolina, so we have to put enough pressure on our politicians to make them pass legislation to implement a Citizens Commission. With enough public pressure, this CAN be done!
We have to educate the public about what is going on in Columbia, and stand up to regain the power the Constitution intended us to have! To learn more, and to join the growing movement in our state, go to Fair Maps SC at this link: www.FairMapsSC.com
Stand up for our state Constitution and help end political corruption in South Carolina! Thank you.