County commissioners to vote on possible redistricting

(WMC-TV) - Shelby County commissioners approved redistricting changes that may change who represents you.

Commissioners are looking forward to a vote next week that could mark the end of a dispute that has dragged on for months.

They voted on a third reading Wednesday to approve the redistricting map known as 2J, a step that sets up a critical vote at the next commission meeting.

Shelby County Commissioner Terry Roland says nine commissioners must vote in favor of 2J at the full commission meeting next week, or the issue will likely head to court.

"The state law says seven okay. The county says nine. We need to keep it at nine, the super majority, because if they change and go by state law, that means they'll only need seven votes when it's time to go up on taxes," said Roland.

Commissioners are trying to create a new map for the 2014 County Commission elections and beyond.

The map known as 2J creates 13 separate districts with one commissioner each. Currently, the commission district map has four districts with three representatives to each district. One of the districts has a single member.

According to Roland, 70 percent of Memphis is African American. That is why the commission has been trying to provide seven majority African American districts inside the Memphis city limits, while also adding an additional commissioner to represent the suburbs.

"I'm a firm believer that redistricting should be a complement of the city and makeup of the city. The makeup of the city is 75 percent of the people that look like me," said Shelby County Commissioner Sidney Chism.

It is a controversy that has led to conflicts over commissioners' political futures, the power of the political parties, as well as the suburbs versus Memphis.

The full council is expected to take a final vote on Monday, June 11.

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