Commission reaches tentative deal on redistricting - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Commission reaches tentative deal on redistricting

The Shelby County redistricting battle could finally be over. The commission tentatively approved a redistricting plan Tuesday evening. The Shelby County redistricting battle could finally be over. The commission tentatively approved a redistricting plan Tuesday evening.

(WMC-TV) – The Shelby County redistricting battle could finally be over. The commission tentatively approved a redistricting plan Tuesday evening.

Before the Shelby County Commission voted on the latest voter redistricting map, Commissioner Chris Thomas addressed rumblings that another map would be introduced at the meeting that could wipe one commissioner out of office.

"For personal reasons, people might try to harm another commissioner with this," he said. "I think that is childish."

Moments later, Map 2-J failed.

It was the only map, out of dozens, to reach a final reading.

Commissioner James Harvey then proposed a new map and city planner Josh Whitehead explained what map 2-O would look like.

"Eight black majority districts, five white majority districts and it does keep relative separation between city and suburb," Whitehead explained.

The new proposed map would change the racial dynamics of the commission. Map 2-O would have eight black commissioners and five white commissioners.

Map 2-J had seven black commissioners and six white commissioners.

The other big difference is Map 2-O would draw Commissioner Heidi Shafer out of her Republican district and put her in a Democratic district.

The county commission's attorney told commissioners the new map would be vulnerable to challenge in court because it may violate one person, one vote and the equal protection laws.

Because Map 2-J passed with seven votes, not nine, a judge will have to validate the vote before it becomes official.

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