Kansas
Congressional BoundariesDrawn by legislature
State BoundariesDrawn by legislature
Governor's PartyDemocratic
Legislative PartyRepublican

Census-related Redistricting Timeline Delays

Congressional

Alert:
Low

State Legislative

Alert:
Low

Process

State Legislature

Kansas's state legislative and congressional districts are drawn by the state Legislature by ordinary statute, and are subject to the Governor's veto. The Legislature can override vetoes with a two-thirds vote in each chamber.

Criteria

While Kansas, like all states, must follow the federal requirements of one person, one vote and the Voting Rights Act, Kansas’ state constitution does not list additional criteria. For at least the past two redistricting cycles, however, the Kansas legislative Reapportionment Committees have adopted guidelines (2012 guidelines here) that require state legislative and congressional districts be compact, contiguous, preserve political subdivisions, and preserve communities of interest. In addition, state legislative districts must avoid pairing incumbents, and congressional districts must preserve the cores of prior districts. The guidelines also stipulate that both redistricting plans “will have neither the purpose nor the effect of diluting minority voting strength.” However, the Legislature can change these guidelines at any time, in any way.

Public Input

While Kansas law does not require public hearings, the Joint Special Committee on Redistricting held meetings in 14 different locations in 2011, starting in July. It is likely that there will be similar opportunities for public input in 2021.

Additionally, Insight Kansas held a redistricting competition in 2012, inviting readers to draw their own redistricting maps. The entries were compiled into a presentation that was sent to the chairs of the Legislature’s Redistricting Committees.

2011 Cycle

In the 2011 redistricting cycle, the Legislature adjourned without completing either state legislative or congressional redistricting after significant gridlock between moderate and conservative Republicans. A federal lawsuit was filed in Essex v. Kobach over the unequal population of districts following the legislative failure to adopt new lines. On June 7, 2012, the US District Court for the District of Kansas issued an opinion drawing both state legislative and congressional districts.

Issues

Pitfalls

The Republican-controlled Legislature currently has a supermajority in both the House and Senate, enough to override the Governor's veto on a redistricting plan. Supermajority Republican control increases the risk of partisan and racial gerrymandering due to the lack of real gubernatorial involvement.

Actions

In 2021, participate in the Legislature’s public input process.

  • Obtain Kansas redistricting data from OpenPrecincts.
  • Start to plan out what defines your community – whether it’s a shared economic interest, school districts, or other social or other cultural, historical, or economic interests – and how that can be represented on a map. This will come in handy once the Legislature starts collecting feedback.
  • Use software tools such as Dave's Redistricting App and Districtr to draw district maps showing either (a) what a fair map would look like, or (b) where the community you believe should be better represented is located.

Read the Common Cause Activist Handbook on Redistricting Reform to learn about what reforms have been successful in the past, and what steps to take to enact reform in the future.

Contacts

League of Women Voters of Kansas

ACLU of Kansas

Sources

All About Redistricting

NCSL

Ballotpedia