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Knox County leaders approve first reading of redistricting maps

The maps will not go into effect until they are approved on the second reading. A meeting will be held Thursday to approve them.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Knox County leaders held a special session meeting Thursday to discuss redistricting plans.

The Knox County Commission gathered in the City-County building to discuss and approve a new map showing how the new districts would be drawn. They approved the plans on the first reading and will meet again next Thursday for the second reading.

In early October, the Knox County Redistricting Committee approved Map 3B, which left a district intact that was mostly made up of minority groups. Other plans had split the voting district, leading to controversy in the community.

The largest district by land in the plan is District 8, represented by Richie Beeler. Around 50.2% of its population is also a minority. Most of South Knoxville was also left intact in District 9, represented by Carson Dailey.

By population, the largest district in Map 3B is District 4. It has 55,009 people, according to officials, the majority of whom are White. It is represented by Kyle Ward and includes the Bearden area.

The Knox County Commission also approved a new district for the county's board of education.

A public forum will be available on Oct. 28 ahead of the second reading of the redistricting plan. Anyone who wants to speak at the meeting can request a chance to speak online.

The redistricting process happens every 10 years and is based on census data. During the process, lines of political power are redrawn at several different levels including county, state and federal. The results of the census data determine where people vote and who represents them.

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