Requirements for Reapportionment

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The Tennessee Constitution in Article VII, Section 1, provides for the election of a county legislative body in each county that should equally represent all areas of the county:

The legislative body shall be composed of representatives from districts in the county as drawn by the county legislative body pursuant to statutes enacted by the General Assembly. Districts shall be reapportioned at least every ten (10) years based upon the most recent federal census. The legislative body shall not exceed twenty-five (25) members, and no more than three representatives shall be elected from a district.

The statutes implementing this constitutional provision are T.C.A. §§ 5-1-110 through 5-1-112, which require the legislative body of each county to meet at least once every 10 years for the purpose of adopting a plan of reapportionment. By a majority vote of the membership, each county legislative body is to change the boundaries of districts, redistrict the county entirely, or increase or decrease the number of districts, if necessary, to apportion the county legislative body so that the members represent substantially equal populations. Although in the past local governments have employed a number of different population indicators in drawing districts, now the law requires them to use the latest federal census data. T.C.A. § 5-1-111.