NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Metro Nashville Planning Department is asking Davidson County residents to give their opinions on each of the two draft redistricting maps in order to proceed in the process.

Metro Planning drafted two versions of a potential redistricted county in accordance with the law passed by the Tennessee General Assembly that requires the Metro Council to shrink its size down from 40 members.

Metro has since sued state officials related to the law, but while the case has yet to be heard in Davidson County Chancery Court, Planning staff were still required to meet a 30-day deadline included in HB48/SB87. That deadline would fall on April 10. Should the court grant Metro an injunction against the law’s enforcement, Metro Planning will “cease all work immediately” while the case is heard.

The department re-upped the website it used during the 2021 Census redistricting in order to produce the maps and allow for citizen input while Metro leaders determined the next steps.

Friday afternoon, Planning presented two options: one with 15 districts and five at-large seats and another with 17 districts and three at-large seats. The maps are available for viewing online HERE but will close Friday, March 31, according to the department.

During the next week, Planning staff will hold in-person events in order to gather feedback as well as welcome online feedback through the redistricting website, according to Richel Albright, Metro Planning Communications Director.

“This state law directs our department to perform a difficult task in a short timeframe,” said Lucy Kempf, Metro Planning Director. “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 utilizes a series of state, federal and traditional redistricting criteria when drawing district boundaries: equal population, compactness, contiguity, historical continuity, compliance with the Voting Rights Act and communities of interest.

While no map will meet all criteria, according to Planning staff, it is paramount that maps at least meet the requirements in the Voting Rights Act, which 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.” That is known as “vote dilution.”

According to Planning staff, the current makeup of Metro Councilmembers reflects Nashville’s diversity in important ways. 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,” Planning staff said.

In addition to keeping the African-American percentage in line, the draft maps retain a South Nashville “plurality Hispanic” district.

During the week-long public comment period, Planning Staff anticipates close scrutiny and discussion of the draft plans regarding vote dilution. They will make changes in any subsequent drafts based on the concerns brought to staff to the “greatest extent possible under federal, state and local law.”

Public Engagement Opportunties

Monday, March 27

  • Hadley Park Community Center, 1037 28th Ave. N. 10:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, March 28

  • Sonny West Conference Center, 700 2nd Ave. S., 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Planning Department, 800 2nd Ave. S. 1:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, March 29

  • Southeast Community Center, 5260 Hickory Hollow Parkway, 10 a.m. 7 p.m.

Thursday, March 30

  • Madison Library, 610 Gallatin Pike S., 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

To view the maps in detail or offer comment, click HERE.