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      Lawmakers seek public input on redistricting plans

      COLUMBIA (WACH, AP) " Lawmaker are not wasting any time in starting the process of remapping the state's house, senate and congressional districts.

      The once-a-decade process is based on the U.S. Census numbers.

      Since 2000, South Carolina has grown by more than 15 percent to a total of 4.6 million residents. Based on the data, the state has earned a 7th U.S. congressional seat.

      This subcommittee must create and submit to the full House Judiciary Committee a plan for how to draw the lines for the South Carolina House of Representatives and the United States Congress, says Rep. Alan Clemmons of Horry County.

      On Wednesday, Midlands residents had an opportunity to learn and share their thoughts about the future redistricting plans, which could affect how they vote.

      I wanted to understand the redistricting process, says Fairfield County resident Tangee Jacobs, and when I want to know something I seek out the information so I can get it first hand.

      We feel very strongly that it is to our benefit the citizens of the county to retain our own representative, Saluda County resident Brenda Bedenbaugh.

      The work by lawmakers, however, comes at a price.

      According to officials, the state has already spent more than $400,000 on computer equipment, salaries and lawyers for the remapping process.

      After hearing what residents have to say, legislators will submit redistricting plans to the U.S. Justice Department which must approve them as part of the Voting Rights Act.

      Click here to find a public hearing happening near you.

      (The Associated Press contributed to this report.)