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TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 2-1-75, SO AS TO ESTABLISH ELECTION DISTRICTS FROM WHICH MEMBERS OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA SENATE ARE ELECTED COMMENCING WITH THE 2004 GENERAL ELECTION; TO DESIGNATE THE PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE OF THE SENATE AS THE SUBMITTING AUTHORITY TO MAKE THE REQUIRED SUBMISSION OF THE SENATE REAPPORTIONMENT PLAN TO THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE UNDER THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT; TO PROVIDE THAT ANY VACANCIES FILLED PRIOR TO THE 2004 GENERAL ELECTION BE FROM THE DISTRICTS ESTABLISHED BY THE FEDERAL THREE-JUDGE PANEL'S INTERIM ORDER; TO PROVIDE THAT IF THIS ACT IS INVALIDATED BY A COURT DECISION OR OBJECTED TO BY THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, THE SENATE ELECTIONS IN 2004 SHALL BE FROM THE DISTRICTS ESTABLISHED BY THE FEDERAL THREE-JUDGE PANEL'S INTERIM ORDER; AND TO REPEAL SECTION 2-1-65, RELATING TO ELECTION DISTRICTS FROM WHICH MEMBERS OF THE SENATE WERE FORMERLY ELECTED.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. The 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 2-1-75. Commencing with the 2004 General Election, one member of the Senate must be elected from each of the following districts:
SECTION 2. Section 2-1-65 of the 1976 Code is repealed.
SECTION 3. Upon the effective date of this act, the President Pro Tempore of the South Carolina Senate is designated as the appropriate official of the submitting authority, who is responsible for making submissions of the revised election districts set forth in Section 2-1-75 of this act to the Chief, Voting Section, Civil Rights Division, Department of Justice, in compliance with Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended, and Title 28, Part 51 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
SECTION 4. Prior to the 2004 General Election, the Senate districts now provided for by the interim order of the federal three-judge panel in Colleton County Council v. McConnell, 201 F.Supp.2d 618 (2002), continue to apply for purposes of vacancies in office for members of the Senate.
SECTION 5. If a court invalidates all or any part of Section 1 of this act or if the Department of Justice or any court of competent jurisdiction fails to preclear the provisions in Section 1 of this act pursuant to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and Title 28, Part 51 of the Code of Federal Regulations, the 2004 General Election must be held under the terms of the interim order of the federal three-judge panel in Colleton County Council v. McConnell, 201 F.Supp.2d 618 (2002).
SECTION 6. If any section, subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, sentence, clause, phrase, or word of this act is for any reason held to be unconstitutional or invalid or denied preclearance under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, such holding or denial does not affect the constitutionality or validity of the remaining portions of this act or the ability to hold timely elections in all districts not forming the basis of the Section 5 objection. The General Assembly hereby declares that it would have passed this act, and each and every section, subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, sentence, clause, phrase, and word thereof, irrespective of the fact that any one or more other sections, subsections, paragraphs, subparagraphs, sentences, clauses, phrases, or words hereof may be declared to be unconstitutional, invalid, or otherwise ineffective.
SECTION 7. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
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