Nashville redistricting plans unveiled
The new districts are being redrawn after a law was passed, shrinking Metro Council’s size.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) – The Metro Nashville Planning Department released two draft Metro Council District maps after lawmakers passed a bill that would require Metro Council to shrink to no more than 20 members.
The drafts include 15 districts with five at-large seats and 17 districts and three at-large seats. This is being done in accordance with the Metro Council Reduction Act, passed by Tennessee lawmakers.
It requires the Metro Planning Commission to establish new district boundaries, with no more than 20 Councilmembers by April 10.
With the release of these maps, Planning Staff will spend the week of March 27 at in-person events gathering public feedback, as well as reviewing online comments on our redistricting website – redistrict.nashville.gov.
The planning department says it strives to adhere to the same methods and principles used during the 2021 redistricting process. However, it says the short timeline imposed by the state law “deeply constraints the community input period.”
“This state law directs our department to perform a difficult task in a short timeframe,” said Lucy Kempf, Metro Planning Executive Director, in a media release. “The process, while far from ideal, must prioritize opportunities for our residents’ voices to be heard so that communities are able to stay together, and ensure we have a district makeup that reflects our diverse county. This is the purpose of releasing such maps today for public feedback.”
Planning staff uses a series of federal, state, and traditional redistricting criteria when drawing district boundaries.
“While no map will meet all criteria, it is important to ensure that maps meet the Voting Rights Act (VRA),” the release says. “In Section Two of the Voting Rights Act, it prohibits ‘any electoral practice or procedure that minimizes or cancels out the voting strength of members of racial or language minority groups in the voting population. This phenomenon is known as vote dilution.’”
The current Metro Council reflects Nashville’s diversity in important ways, according to the planning department.
“African-American Councilmembers make up 25% of the Council, in line with that community’s share of the County’s overall population. Our goal is to propose draft boundaries that sustain this level of representation and avoid vote dilution,” the planning department said in the release. “Similarly, the draft maps retain a South Nashville “plurality Hispanic” district that supports the Council’s overall diverse representation. Planning staff anticipate close scrutiny and discussion of these draft districts to better understand concerns related to vote dilution. The Department plans to make changes in subsequent drafts to address those concerns to the greatest extent possible under federal, state and local law.”
Metro Legal has filed a lawsuit against the state asking for an injunction. If the courts grant an injunction, Metro Planning will cease all work immediately, according to the release. The planning department encourages public input.
Public Engagement Opportunities:
Monday, March 27:
Hadley Park Community Center, 1037 28th Ave. N., 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 28:
Sonny West Conference Center, 700 2nd Ave. S.: 10:00 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Planning Department, 800 2nd Ave. S.: 1:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 29:
Southeast Community Center, 5260 Hickory Hollow Parkway, 10:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 30:
Madison Library, 610 Gallatin Pike S., 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
For more information about this redistricting process, to access the maps, and online feedback tool, visit redistrict.nashville.gov.
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