Federal officials question SC Senate redistricting

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- The U.S. Justice Department is questioning plans drawn by the South Carolina Senate for its 46 districts.

In a letter the agency sent to the Senate on Monday, the Justice Department asks about District 17 which now serves voters in Chester, Fairfield, Union and York counties.

The American Civil Liberties Union had argued that the district could be drawn with a black majority. But the Senate rejected that argument.

The Justice Department wanted details on precinct-by-precinct voting tallies for state and federal offices dating to 2006 that included candidates' race as well as voter demographics.

The letter is the first inquiry on South Carolina's legislative and U.S. House redistricting plans. Past Voting Rights Act violations mean South Carolina's election law plans need federal approval.

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