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Legal challenges to Tennessee's redistricting brewing though probability of success may be low

The latest proposed Congressional district map splits Davidson County in three with a slight change to District 9 which includes Memphis.
Courtesy House Select Committee Redistricting
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The latest proposed Congressional district map splits Davidson County in three with a slight change to District 9 which includes Memphis.

Tennessee lawmakers are expected to take final votes on newly drawn electoral districts this week and voting rights advocates are already eyeing legal challenges. They believe the proposed maps could be drawn better.

The national voting rights act prohibits racial discrimination in relation to voting and elections. League of Women Voters of Tennessee President Debbie Gould says the maps being finalized may do just that and could create a legal pathway to overturn them. 

“We are extremely concerned that the maps that were drawn reflect not just partisan gerrymandering but racial gerrymandering, which is in direct violation of the NVRA,” Gould said.

More than 20 states have already finished redrawing their congressional maps, with several of those being held up in legal battles. In Ohio, the state supreme court reversed a GOP-drawn map that would’ve created an unfair advantage to Republicans in the state. 

Tennessee opponents may have a hard time proving the maps are racially gerrymandered because in Davidson, their main concern, a majority-minority district is unattainable. Black residents make up just 24% of the current 5th congressional district, which includes all of Davidson.  

Blaise Gainey is a Multimedia Reporter for WFSU News. Blaise hails from Windermere, Florida. He graduated from The School of Journalism at the Florida A&M University. He formerly worked for The Florida Channel, WTXL-TV, and before graduating interned with WFSU News. He is excited to return to the newsroom. In his spare time he enjoys watching sports, Netflix, outdoor activities and anything involving his daughter.
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