Shelby County redistricting vote hits speed bump

(WMC-TV) – The vote to redistrict Shelby County hit a speed bump Monday night.

Shelby County commissioners want to change four districts into 14 districts. But at the vote, the commission was two members short.

As a result, Shelby County Commissioner Terry Roland proposed deferring the vote two weeks.

The commission needs nine out of 13 'yes' votes in order to pass the map that would reshape the four current multi-member districts into 13 single-member districts.

He said getting this right ensures the county charter will continue to trump the state charter down the line.

The state charter allows a simple majority of seven votes, while the county charter requires a super majority of nine votes.

"If we lose to seven votes, which is the state law, which our charter supersedes, it will only take seven votes to go up on taxes. That's why we need nine votes," explained Roland.

The Shelby County Commission now has just one more meeting to vote on a new map before a federal judge will be forced to take matters into his own hands.

Some commissioners have argued Map 2J dilutes the African American vote.

Others say smaller districts eliminate the incumbent advantage because campaigns in smaller voting areas are much cheaper, so more people have a chance to win.

The deadline to redistrict Shelby County was midnight January 1.

A judge gave the commission until June 30 to get it done or he will step in.

The next vote happens one week before the judge's deadline extension.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.