TOPEKA, Kan. — The Kansas House voted Wednesday to override a veto of a new congressional district map for the state, joining the Senate in bypassing the governor’s block.
Representatives in the House voted 85-37 to override Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto and needed an 84-vote majority to do so.
The successful vote took place on the Kansas Legislature’s third day of deliberation on the map, with the Senate previously taking two days to muster the votes needed to bring Senate Bill 355 back to life.
The Senate voted 24-15 on Monday, failing to hit the 27-vote majority Republicans needed. However, with a motion to reconsider and vote again on Tuesday, the Senate saw a comeback in favor with a 27-11 vote the second time.
Senate Bill 355 would adopt the “Ad Astra 2” map, drawing new district lines in Kansas.
States must redraw congressional districts at least once every 10 years to make them as equal as possible in population following shifts in population. If the state doesn’t enact new boundaries, federal judges are likely to draw the lines.
The Ad Astra map has been particularly controversial in the Kansas City area of the state.
It would split the northern half of Wyandotte County from the state’s 3rd Congressional District, which is currently held by Rep. Sharice Davids, the only Kansas Democrat in Congress.
It would also take Lawrence, just one city in Douglas County, and add it to the 1st Congressional District which predominantly accounts for the western part of the state.
Opponents of the map have called it “gerrymandered” and said it would make it harder for Davids to keep her position as the state’s only congressional Democrat.
Meanwhile, supporters like Rep. Brenda Landwehr, R-Wichita, have said there is a “numbers problem” in Wyandotte and Johnson county that the map solves. The population in the two counties has grown too much over the past 10 years to keep them together completely in the 3rd district.
When vetoing the map, Kelly previously voiced objections to how the map would redraw voting districts in Kansas.
“Without explanation, this map shifts 46% of the Black population and 33% of the Hispanic population out of the 3rd Congressional District by dividing the Hispanic neighborhoods of Quindaro Bluffs, Bethel-Welborn, Strawberry Hill, Armourdale and others from Argentine, Turner and the rest of Kansas City, Kansas south of I-70,” Kelly said.
Prior to the legislature’s override, multiple groups in the Kansas City area said they would take the redistricting issue to court if the Ad Astra 2 map went through.
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