County one step closer to correct district lines

By Lucas Vance lvance@civitasmedia.com

May 30, 2014

WINNSBORO — Fairfield County Council passed the first reading of an ordinance to restore the Fairfield County School Board District lines to the proper configuration as originally ordained by the General Assembly.

County Council recently approved county staff to correct a redistricting flaw from 2011 that left District 5 without representation on the Fairfield County’s School Board of Trustees.

The error placed incumbent Bobby Cunningham in District 6 by mistake, according to interim County Administrator Milton Pope.

After several pieces of information regarding district lines being redrawn were released by the press, Pope contacted Bobby Bowers, director of the South Carolina Budget Control Board to inquire about the issue.

Bowers looked into the matter where Cunningham had been drawn out of his district and stated in a letter to Pope that the error was inadvertent.

To correct the inadvertent error, Bowers suggested council pass an ordinance moving the geographical area that includes nine people into the same district as a school board plan passed by the General Assembly.

“Especially since there was no intent by county council to place two school board members in the same district this will make it easier for the county’s voter registration and election office with both county council and the school board districts being the same,” Bowers concluded in his letter to county staff.

Pope reminded council and the assembly that the 911 centerline file information is obtained from the state.

According to 911 road centerline file, the board believed Cunningham’s address was in the town limits of Winnsboro putting him in District 6. However, Bowers stated that is not truly the case.

Bowers assisted the county in re-districting in 2010 and Pope noted that Bowers acknowledged by letter that the GEO-codes is what caused the anomaly in the lines and it wasn’t nothing specifically county council had done.

Pope stated that the county attorney drafted the ordinance to correct the district lines and they were approved by Debbie Stidham at the County Voter Registration Office.

“She (Stidham) made sure that the language was explicitly clear and corrected all of those anomalies and she was clear that the ordinance did correct those items,” he explained.

The second reading of the ordinance along with a public hearing will be held May 27. County Council Chairman David Ferguson recommended the third and final reading be moved up and held at a special meeting on June 9. The recommendation was unanimously approved and the district lines should be corrected in time for the voting season in November.