KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. — The Knoxville Branch of NAACP penned an open letter to the ad hoc Knox County Redistricting Committee opposing adding precinct 24Q into Knox County's District 1.
In the letter, the group said moving precinct 24Q out of District 4 would "dilute" District 1's majority-minority demographic and potentially violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The group said precinct 24Q's 97% white population would "diminish the voice of Black voters in Knoxville."
The letter noted there are other ways to address District 1's under-population without including the "least diverse precinct." The group suggested moving precinct 41 into the district instead because of its "minority population of 32%."
Knox County Redistricting Committee Chair Kyle Ward responded in a statement to 10News saying,
"I appreciate the NAACP’s letter, and will give it thoughtful consideration. It is the top priority of the redistricting committee to run an open and legal process. We are following the law to the letter, and have had over 7 events with opportunities for public input, with little participation. This week, the committee will suggest one of four plans, all of which meet the legal requirements, for adoption by county commission.”
A committee of government leaders is reviewing if and how election districts should be redesigned in light of Knoxville area population growth. District boundaries are reviewed every decade after new U.S. Census data is gathered and released.