In 2020, many Tennessee residents responded to the federal decennial Census which provides critical information for government leaders in decision-making related to funding for roads, schools, housing, and many social programs. Census data also serve to help determine how many representatives each state will have in Congress.
Locally, Census data help counties to ensure that county commission district lines are drawn so that each district represents equal populations within the county. In fact, T.C.A. § 5-1-111 requires equal representation:
a) Prior to January 1, 1982, and at least every ten (10) years thereafter, county legislative bodies of the different counties shall meet and, a majority of the members being present and concurring, shall change the boundaries of districts or redistrict a county entirely if necessary to apportion the county legislative body so that the members represent substantially equal populations.
This process of redrawing districts is called “reapportionment” (sometimes also called “redistricting”) and it is required to be completed by December 31, 2021. With 2022 being a county general election year, timing has been crucial this year. Therefore, CTAS county government consultants have been working diligently in their respective counties over the past several weeks to assist counties in the reapportionment process.
Working under the direction of the State of Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury’s office, CTAS county government consultants have been assisting each county’s redistricting committees by attending meetings, moving district lines through technology as requested, and recalculating population deviations to meet the requirements outlined in T.C.A. § 5-1-111. While some of the 95 Tennessee counties have completed their reapportionment, many counties have a redistricting plan that has been approved by the redistricting committee but awaits the adoption by the full county legislative body.
We will provide further reapportionment updates in our next newsletter. If you have questions about reapportionment, please contact your county government consultant.