FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
January 11, 2022
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR: WILL THEY ADOPT THE REDISTRICTING GUIDELINES?
Topeka, KS — After months of pleas for transparency, the Republican-led Kansas Redistricting Advisory Group announced proposed guidelines for congressional and state legislative redistricting—however, those guidelines won’t take effect until the legislature adopts them. Kansas legislators have that chance tomorrow when the House and Senate Redistricting Committees each hold their first hearings of the year. Kansans want to know: Will Republicans adopt redistricting guidelines tomorrow, or will the legislature continue to forge ahead without rules of the road?
The proposed guidelines include multiple essential aspects to ensuring a fair redistricting process, including:
- Redistricting plans do not have the purpose or the effect of diluting minority voting strength.
- Redistricting plans should recognize communities of similar interest, this includes social, cultural, racial, ethnic and economic interests in a population area.
- Redistricting plans should uphold the core of existing congressional districts when considering communities of interest to the fullest extent possible.
However, over the weekend, a coalition of nonpartisan groups reiterated that the proposed guidelines still present barriers to transparency and public participation. The groups called on legislators to expand accessibility, allow community input, and release a timeline for the process overall—which has thus far been marked by short notice and lack of transparency.
Time and time again, Kansans have made clear they want a fair and transparent redistricting process that keeps communities intact without political gerrymandering. Nearly six months after the first public hearing, it’s time for the Redistricting Committees to operate with public, stated guidelines to protect Kansas’ communities and ensure fair representation.