Oct 18, 2021 - Politics

Redistricting's potential impact on Nashville

A draft map of the proposed districts of Nashville's Metro Council.

A map showing the Nashville planning department's first draft of council redistricting. Image courtesy of Nashville planning department

Nashville's first draft for a new Metro Council district map ricocheted through the city over the weekend.

Why it matters: The draft, driven by population shifts in the 2020 census, showed Antioch and southeast Nashville growing as a power center. An additional district could be moved there as the population continues to surge, meaning another position to represent the area on the council.

  • "Southeast Nashville has been pretty strong," council member Sandra Sepulveda told Axios. "Having another district drawn into the southeast would help us that much more."

Driving the news: The map moved District 8 from Madison to the Antioch area. Multiple northern districts moved to accommodate the change.

  • Council member Nancy VanReece, who represents District 8, said the shift was a normal function of population growth. She said she was submitting feedback that would seek to keep Madison neighborhoods from being split up on the map.

Yes, but: Some council members said the first map could dilute the power of neighborhoods and minority voting blocs in some parts of the county.

  • District 3, represented by council member Jennifer Gamble, shifted significantly to the east to take on more of Madison while losing some North Nashville neighborhoods.
  • "This proposal drastically changes the demographic, socioeconomic and geographic character of District 3," Gamble told Axios. "It dilutes the minority voices in both District 3 and District 1."

Meanwhile: The map moves the East Bank and Oracle development to District 19, which includes downtown, the Nashville Yards project and part of Midtown. That district will be an open race in the 2023 election.

What's next: The planning department, which also released a draft map showing redrawn school board districts, is looking for community feedback before they release the second draft of the redistricting plan.

  • The first meeting takes place tonight, with more planned through the rest of the month.
  • Planning officials expect to make changes before new district maps are up for approval.

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