Annexation causes election day worries for newest Memphis residents - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

Annexation causes election day worries for newest Memphis residents

Newly annexed Memphians, many of whom are already receiving property tax bills, expressed concern Wednesday they won't be able to vote in the October Memphis election.  The annexation is causing redistricting, which is alarming some voters.

The redistricting proposal comes just about a month until the election, and impacts four areas annexed by the city of Memphis: Berryhill, Getwell West, Southwind, and North Raleigh.

According to Memphis City Attorney Allan Wade, the city is under court order to keep the districts balanced by population and race.

"Without it, it would make some of the districts, like District 1 and District 2, be over-weighted," Wade said. "So, it would dilute those people's vote."

The redistricting mainly changes the makeup of two precincts:  Precinct 66-2, which moves from District 2 to District 5, and Precinct 26-1, which moves from District 4 to District 6

"That's to make sure that every vote has equal weight," Wade said. "Otherwise, it would be unconstitutional, and would invalidate the entire election process."

Wade said the changes are happening late because the state would not allow the city to create a new precinct.  Instead, Memphis was forced to create an alternate plan.

"That wasn't resolved until late July, early August, so I brought it to the council as soon as possible," Wade said.

City officials said the redistricting will not cause any shuffling of the candidates, and voting district analysts think it will not have a big impact on the racial make-up of any of the districts.

Wade emphasized that all registered citizens will be able to vote.

If you have any questions, election officials said, check with the election commission to verify where your precinct is located.


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