The Hilton Head PSD Commission at its November 2023 monthly meeting voted unanimously to seek public input on a draft of a new PSD Commission Voting Districts map.
The draft map is the result of a months’ long process that began in summer 2023. The S.C. General Assembly in June passed Act 93 of 2023, which moved the PSD Commission from a seven-member board representing four separate voting districts within the PSD service area, to a seven-member board representing seven separate voting districts within the PSD service area (aka, single-member voting districts).
This legislation was passed in order to allow the Commission to conduct U.S. Census-based redistricting.
The Commission reviewed a set of goals for redistricting, which included:
The Commission received input from the South Carolina Department of Revenue & Fiscal Affairs and from Commission constituents in developing the draft map. The Commission is seeking public comment on the draft map at this time. The Commission will vote to approve its Voting Districts map prior to the November 2024 general election.
The November 2024 general election will be the first PSD Commission election using the seven separate voting districts. In the November 2024 general election, four commission seats will be up for election. Then, in the November 2026 general election, the three remaining commission seats will be up for election. Commissioners serve four-year terms.
Redistricting is the process of redrawing electoral district boundaries in order to better represent the population and ensure fair representation in legislative bodies. It is a process that is done on a regular basis, usually following the release of the latest Census data. The goal of redistricting is to create districts that are relatively equal in population size and that also reflect the population’s demographic makeup. This process is important in ensuring that all citizens have an equal say in their government, no matter where they live. Redistricting also helps ensure that electoral districts are configured in such a way that politicians are accountable to their constituents and that the interests of all citizens are represented in the legislative process.
The South Carolina Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office (RFA) has prepared the following analysis and accompanying map regarding the redistricting for Hilton Head No. 1 Special Purpose District.
The 2020 Census presents new challenges regarding redistricting as the data below the state level will be affected by the U.S. Census Bureau’s efforts with respect to differential privacy. The Bureau has stated that the total population in each state will be “as enumerated,” but that all other levels of geography could have some variance from the raw data. This variance is referred to by the Census Bureau as “injecting noise” into the data and is an attempt to improve privacy. The bureau has indicated that no “noise” will be injected into the state total population, but it is likely that noise will be injected for every other level of geography. More noise is injected as the geography levels get smaller. In other words, population counts at the county, city, or block level may not be “as enumerated”.
Race is defined following the guidance provided in OMB Bulletin No. 00-02 which allocates population counts of a “minority race and white” category to the minority race. In Tables 2 and 3, NH DOJ Black is the sum of Non-Hispanic Black and Non-Hispanic Black and White as recommended by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Per Act 124 of 2003, an act to amend Act 596 of 1969, as last amended by Act 1357 of 1974 the Hilton Head No. 1 Public Service District “shall consist of seven residents of the district who must be qualified electors of the district.”
Additionally, Act 124 of 2003 divides the district into “four election districts as follows:
District One from which one commissioner shall reside in and be elected by the qualified electors of that district; District Two from which one commissioner shall reside in and be elected by the qualified electors of that district; District Three from which two commissioners shall reside in and be elected by the qualified electors of that district; and District Four from which three commissioners shall reside in and be elected by the qualified electors of that district.”
Act 93 of 2023 was approved on June 19, 2023, to amend Act 596 of 1969, as last amended by Act 124 of 2003. Section 3 is amended to read:
(A) The district must be operated, managed, and governed by a commission to be known as “Hilton Head No. 1 Public Service District Commission”. The commission shall consist of seven residents of the district who must be qualified electors of the district.
(B) The commissioners shall be elected from seven election districts established by the commission and properly apportioned with the assistance of the appropriate state agencies. The commission is authorized to participate in redistricting as necessary to comply with state and federal laws.
(C) On the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November 2024, four commissioners, one from District Two, one from District Three, and two from District Four, as previously elected pursuant to Act 124 of 2003, shall be considered for election in accordance with the election districts established pursuant to subsection (B). On the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November 2026, the three remaining commissioners, one from District One, one from District Two, and one from District Four, as previously elected pursuant to Act 124 of 2003, shall be considered for election in accordance with the election districts established pursuant to subsection (B). Candidates shall file a statement of intention of candidacy with the county board of elections and registration pursuant to Section 7-13-35 of the S.C. Code, as amended. Commissioners shall reside in and be elected by the qualified electors of their respective election districts established pursuant to subsection (B). Commissioners must be elected for terms of four years until their successors are elected and qualify.
(D) The Beaufort County Board of Elections and Registration shall conduct and supervise the elections for commissioners in the manner governed by the election laws of this State, mutatis mutandis. Vacancies must be filled in the manner provided in Section 7-13-190 of the S.C. Code.
The following information represents the legislation passed in 2003 with seven total members in the four established districts. The draft map and affiliated demographic statistics that will follow this report will be based on the updated legislation approved in Act 93 of 2023.
The population of the Hilton Head No. 1 Public Service District has increased 4.7% from 24,109 to 25,244. The Benchmark Report noted a deviation range of 108.93% (the sum of the highest deviation, 75.53%, and the absolute value of the lowest deviation|-33.41%|) which is above the maximum range of 10%. RFA recommends a deviation range of 5%. The target goal of each district is based on the number of commissioners per district divided by the total population.
The following table and chart show which districts are (under-) or over-populated, indicating potential adjustments needed to be within the allowable deviation range.