NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As the Tennessee House and Senate redistricting committees prepare to hold hearings this week, ThinkTennessee applauds the steps taken to increase opportunities to engage the public in this year’s redistricting process and urges both committees to continue efforts – particularly the ability to review draft maps – that will enhance Tennesseans’ trust in the system and deepen civic engagement.
“This once-in-a-decade process shapes how we will be governed for the next decade,” said Shanna Singh Hughey, president of ThinkTennessee. “In a state that consistently ranks near the bottom of the country on voter registration and turnout, public involvement in redistricting is a key opportunity to deepen civic engagement.”
“The House Select Committee on Redistricting has made the critical decision to use its Friday hearing to share not only publicly submitted redistricting plans, but the committee’s own draft map. This is a key component of the legislature’s commitment to an open process, and one that represents a significant improvement from previous redistricting cycles,” she said.
“We’re hopeful that the public will soon also have access to draft maps for the Senate and for federal congressional districts.”
Earlier this year, ThinkTennessee released a comprehensive primer on how redistricting works and outlined four ways legislators could improve upon the 2011-2012 process to give Tennessee voters an opportunity to more fully engage. While not every recommendation was taken, comparatively, the 2021-2022 redistricting process includes more public committee hearings and opportunities for community members to provide their input relative to the previous process, and, for the first time ever, both chambers’ redistricting committees are bipartisan.
The Senate will meet on Tuesday, December 14 at 8:30am CT and the House will meet Friday, December 17 at 2:00pm CT. The agenda for the House meeting includes the review of “outside plan[s]” as well plans from individual members and the committee itself. The Senate agenda, however, includes only a review of redistricting maps submitted by the public. Both hearings will be streamed live online and open to the general public for in-person attendance.