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GALLATIN REDISTRICTING: WHAT DISTRICT AM I IN? Changes Impact Voting Locations & City Council Representation
GALLATIN — Approximately 16,592 Gallatin voters live in different council districts now that the Gallatin City Council has unanimously voted to approve the city's redistricting plan. After evaluating five different redistricting maps, the council voted to accept plan number three. The plan adjusts boundaries to each ward to maintain fair representation of the growing population of the city.
Every ten years redistricting occurs at the city, county, state and federal level and is based on U.S. Census data. The city's population is divided into five districts, each containing approximately 8,886 people.
For voters who changed commission districts, the polling location (precinct) and the city councilman representing the district may change. Municipal redistricting does not change any other voting districts, though those may change as well through Sumner County Commission or the Tennessee Legislature.
The ward changes took effect on October 19th, 2021 when the ordinance was officially adopted by the Gallatin City Council; however, they will not be implemented until the next election. The Sumner County Election Commission will mail letters to voters with new voter registration cards and voting locations for each precinct.
While there were boundary-line shifts in all five council districts, all council members remain in the respective districts previously represented. City council members will, by state statute, continue to represent the district in which they were elected, even if new district maps place their residence in a new district; however, no council member was changed to a new district in Gallatin.
The City of Gallatin GIS team utilized Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping software to process population and demographic data to create different boundary scenarios presented to the Gallatin City Council. Lori Smiley, Chief Information Officer for the City, says there are strict state and federal requirements dictating how the maps are developed. “The process is not arbitrary, and we went to great lengths to create district options that are consistent with state and federal laws." Smiley said, "The maps are drawn to balance out the size of the districts while making sure we didn’t break up neighborhoods.”
Redistricting for the cities and the county has been completed and updated in the voter database system. The legislature has not yet completed redistricting for the State of Tennessee. Voter registration cards will be mailed once redistricting is completed at the State level. The legislature is in session at this time, and redistricting is a top priority due to the fact that new districts and lines can potentially affect each of the 95 counties in the State of Tennessee.
The public can find district information at https://www.votesumnertn.org/resources/maps, and a full resolution image of redistricting in Gallatin can be viewed at https://www.gallatintn.gov/DocumentCenter/View/7900/2021-Redistricting-Map-PDF .