HomePoliticsCivil rights groups are suing Tennessee over the state's GOP-drafted congressional and...

Civil rights groups are suing Tennessee over the state’s GOP-drafted congressional and senate maps, calling the boundaries “unconstitutional racial gerrymandering”

  • Civil rights and voting rights groups have sued Tennessee over the state’s congressional map.

  • The lawsuit claims the card weakens minority voting power and that it is “unconstitutional”.

  • The map drawn by the GOP led to the elimination of a heavily blue district in one of the state’s Democratic centers.

A group of civil and voting rights organizations filed a lawsuit last Wednesday against Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee and several top election officials over the state’s congressional and senate maps, arguing that the boundaries are unconstitutional and the rights of violate minority voters.

The lawsuit alleges that the maps, drawn by the Republican-controlled legislature, sought to weaken the voting power of black citizens with lines around Memphis and Nashville, the state’s largest and most diverse population centers.

The groups have petitioned the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee to stop “calling, holding, overseeing, or certifying further elections in the challenged districts” in their current configurations.

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Now that the filing has been filed, Tennessee joins states like Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina where lawsuits are a challenge after the 2020 census. The cases’ resolutions could play an important role in the party controlling Congress after the 2024 election, as the GOP currently holds a narrow 222-212 majority in the House.

Debby Gould, the president of the League of Women Voters of Tennessee, said in a statement that the existing cards drown out the votes of minority communities in the state.

“The maps approved by the Tennessee legislature are deliberately tarnishing the votes of communities of color in Tennessee,” she said. “Tennesseans want their counties and their cities to remain whole, but mapmakers ignored their interests, creating unfair districts that split communities and diluted their power. Tennessee’s county maps must preserve the ability for voters to express their shared interests and enhance political representation of their choosing.”

The League of Women Voters of Tennessee is a plaintiff in the lawsuit, along with the Tennessee State Conference of the NAACP, The Equity Alliance, Memphis A. Philip Randolph Institute, the African American Clergy Collective of Tennessee and five citizens.

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At the heart of the matter is the creation of three Republican congressional districts that include parts of Democratic-heavy Davidson County, but all of which are elected GOP members of Congress. Each district—the 5th, 6th, and 7th congressional districts—contains a range of suburban, extra-urban, and rural communities that have overwhelmed Davidson County voting.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit criticize the three aforementioned districts as “unconstitutional racial gerrymanders.”

The GOP’s redistricting map eliminated the Democratic-leaning congressional district of veteran legislator Jim Cooper, who chose not to run for re-election in one of the conservative districts the legislature created last year.

As a result, there is now only one member of the Democratic House representing Tennessee: Steve Cohen of Memphis.

The lawsuit also challenges the Senate’s new map, which divides Shelby County, the region that includes Memphis.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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