KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Tennessee Democratic Party is financing a lawsuit brought by three Tennesseans challenging the state’s newly approved congressional district maps.
The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Davidson County Court, names three of the state’s top Republicans, Gov. Bill Lee, Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett and Tennessee Coordinator of Elections Mark Goins, as defendants.
“Tennesseans should pick their own representatives and not the other way around,” said Hendrell Remus, chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party. “From the very beginning, we doubted that the Tennessee redistricting process would be open and fair. Unfortunately, Republicans also violated the law while gerrymandering our state. We’re proud to be supporting these individuals in their efforts to ensure equal representation for every Tennessean.”
The suit alleges the redistricting maps that were approved by the Tennessee General Assembly violated the state Constitution in two ways. First, the House of Representatives map divides more counties than necessary to ensure all districts have roughly equal population, and second, the state Senate map fails to consecutively number the districts that include Davidson County.
The new state House map crosses 30 districts’ county borders.
On the state Senate side, Davidson County is split into four districts, 17, 19, 20 and 21. The state Constitution requires a county’s districts be numbered consecutively to ensure half the county’s districts will be on the ballot in presidential election years and half in gubernatorial election years. Even districts are up for election during presidential elections and odd number of districts are up in gubernatorial election years.
The lawsuit is asking for a three-judge panel to oversee the case.