Sen. Brenda Gilmore: G.O.P. maps subvert the voting rights of Black Tennesseans

Side by side comparison, (l): The Republican Congressional plan over Davidson County and (r): a map showing the percentage of voting age population (VAP) belonging to a minority group in each Davidson County voting precinct. (photo courtesy of the DRA)

Sen. Brenda Gilmore (D-Nashville), a long-time champion for voting rights, says the district map plans released by Republicans dilute the voting power of minorities.

When the Congressional district lines proposed by Republicans are overlaid on a map showing the population percentage of minority voters in Davidson County voting precincts, the GOP map clearly divides Nashville’s minority voters between three congressional districts.

“I am deeply troubled that the majority party is rushing these district maps through the General Assembly. On every map, there appear to be lines drawn by politicians who were picking the voters they wanted, when it should be voters picking their elected leaders,” Sen. Gilmore said. “Even more concerning is the many ways these maps diminish the voting power of African Americans. There are a variety of instances where minority communities have been divided between districts, which dilutes their voting strength.”

On the Tennessee House maps proposed by Republicans, another example of dividing minority communities can be found in Rutherford County. The GOP district lines split the city of La Vergne, one of Tennessee’s few majority minority cities, between two House districts. The diverse cities of Murfreesboro and Smyrna are similarly divided.

“We’re not asking for new maps to secure minority rule. All we want is a fair fight,” Sen. Gilmore said. “That starts with a fair process and the millions of Tennesseans, who will be affected by these districts for the next decade, deserve time to digest these new maps and get their concerns addressed.”

Also, the Nashville Justice League, a coalition formed of three powerful grassroots organizations in Nashville (The Equity Alliance Fund, TIRRC Votes, and Central Labor Council of Middle Tennessee) joined together in protest with the Nashville community against the “deliberately gerrymandered maps.”

“It is clear that with the maps presented the goal is to dilute the minority voting and political power in Davidson County specifically,” said the Justice League.

“The proposed redistricting maps presented by the Tennessee GOP break the minority vote in Davidson country upwards of three ways diluting the political power and eliminating fair representation for Black and Brown voters. Community organizations and individuals have presented maps to the Ad Hoc committee that were not considered. The GOP has called their maps “fair and legal” but they present a clear benefit for the majority party.”

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