WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the South Carolina State Conference of the NAACP and a voter sued the state over its current congressional and legislative maps, arguing that the districts are malapportioned after the release of 2020 census data. The suit alleges that, since the South Carolina Legislature is currently adjourned without any plans to address redistricting or to reconvene until January 2022, the state is left with unconstitutionally malapportioned maps that violate the principle of equal representation. The plaintiffs ask the court to block the use of current maps for future elections and create a schedule for implementing new maps if the Legislature does not do so in time for the 2022 election cycle.
The main issue, according to the complaint, is that the state Legislature — the body tasked with redrawing the state’s districts every 10 years — has not yet considered proposed maps or provided a timeline for implementing new maps despite the release of 2020 census data back in August. Unless the Legislature decides to call a special session focused on redistricting, it will not address redistricting until they reconvene in 2022 — a timeline that, according to the complaint, “deprives Plaintiffs and South Carolinians of the ability to conduct meaningful review of the maps and, if necessary, seek judicial review in advance of the 2022 filing deadlines and elections.” The suit points out that months-long court interventions have been necessary in the last four out of five redistricting cycles to ensure that South Carolina’s maps were constitutional. Given that the redistricting process has not yet begun in the state, the plaintiffs argue that South Carolinians “face a substantial and imminent risk that constitutionally compliant district lines will not be redrawn in time to cure the current unconstitutional malapportionment for the 2022 elections” unless the court intervenes.