Why Should I Care about H3054?
What if we could convince the S.C. legislature to pass a single bill that would profoundly affect every other political issue for decades to come?
This year, we can.
If H3054 becomes law, it will benefit the people of South Carolina for the foreseeable future by correcting a flawed system that allows legislators to choose their voters instead of allowing voters to choose their legislators.
You read that right. Our current system undermines the most fundamental principle of our democracy: the right of people to govern themselves by choosing their representatives.
Currently, legislators have the power to draw district lines that enhance their re- electability—to create so-called “safe” districts. Every ten years, once census results are tallied, legislators divide neighborhoods, horse trade cul-de-sacs, and illogically cross county lines to ensure that their party holds on to their districts, without regard for whether the legislature as a whole fairly represents the people who live in this state.
If passed, the new law would establish an independent commission to redraw district lines after each census. So far, 21 states have established either legislative or congressional redistricting commissions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
South Carolina needs to be next.
Turning H3054 into law will be difficult because the people who have the power to make the process fair are the same people who benefit personally from the current unfair system.
Put another way, we have to convince the foxes currently guarding the hen house to look beyond notions of “safe” districts in which they are ensured another term and to consider instead that no matter which party represents the majority of voters, all citizens of our state deserve to have their voices represented.
Legislators who are more interested in fair representation than in their own re-election will be on board right away, but “we the people” must put tremendous pressure on the rest of them to do likewise.
Our house members need to know that we care about redistricting and that we are paying attention to how they vote on H3054.
So what can you do?
- Educate yourself about the current process and about strategies for a fair redistricting process after the 2020 census is completed.
- FairVote.com, a “nonpartisan champion for voting reform,” explains clearly the problem of unfair district lines (especially in southern states) and offers a fair alternative that would result in districts reflecting the political and racial diversity in our state. See especially pages 11 and 12 of this PDF.
- To stay current, follow FairVote.com and All on the Line to keep current. All on the Line’s mission is to reform “rigged electoral maps drawn with surgical precision by politicians to preserve their party’s political power and silence the will of the people.”
- For information about other efforts to “take politics out of drawing district lines,” read this article.
- For a clear explanation of why our current system is unfair, see this 2017 article written by Cindi Ross Scoppe. Among her many cogent points is this one: “Say you’ve got a state where 60 percent of the voters reliably vote Republican and the other 40 percent vote Democratic. The law of averages tells us that if you divided this state into 100 legislative districts, 60 of the legislators would be Republican and 40 would be Democratic. And that’s what should happen. And it’s what could happen.”
- Contact your state representatives. Tell them to make sure not only that H3054 comes up for a vote but that they vote in favor of it. (Not sure who yours are or how to contact them? Go here.)
- Write letters to the editors/producers of state and local news outlets encouraging them to raise awareness of H3054.
- Encourage friends and family to get involved.
H3054 abandons the current unfair practice of allowing legislators to manipulate voters and protects the vote of every citizen by ensuring a legislature that accurately reflects our diversity.
Let’s get behind it.
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