TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas’ Senate Redistricting Committee approved a final voting map on Thursday night.
The Republican-drawn “Ad Astra” map has received pushback from Democrats and other activist groups.
Opponents claim that it limits the voices of minorities and is politically-charged, targeting two close-knit counties that lean blue, Wyandotte and Johnson county.
The Ad Astra map splits up the northern half of Wyandotte county, which some say has a strong minority population.
Lenet Compton, a resident in the Kansas City area, submitted written testimony to the committee, urging lawmakers to keep the current boundaries of the counties the same.
“Everyone on this planet wants, and needs, to be heard. Keeping District 3 together allows me,Lenet Compton, Kansas City Resident
and my neighbors, that rare ear and voice from Kansas in D.C.. My literal neighborhood enjoys
the diversity of young, old, Jewish, Christian, gay, multi-generational, Republican and Democrat
families and individuals.”
However, a split drawn in Wyandotte county could remove democratic voters in the state’s swing congressional district, represented by Sharice Davids.
Davids is the only Kansas Democrat in Congress right now, but some say the new maps could change that, taking away her shot at re-election, and giving Republican opponents an advantage.
The map, which is also up for debate in the House Redistricting panel, also takes Lawrence, one city in Douglas County, and moves it to the “Big First” congressional district, which is otherwise composed of more rural areas.
“We are proud of our Douglas County community. We vote the way our people feel and we’re entitled to that. The same as the rest of the state,” said Rep. Barbara Ballard, (D) Lawrence, after a round of public hearings in the House committee.
The House panel is expected to approve their plan soon.
The Republican-led senate panel approved of an amended “Ad Astra” map with a vote on party lines. The amended version mainly included changes to move the Kansas Kickapoo Tribe’s reservation to the 2nd district, instead of splitting it up between two districts.
The map now moves to the Senate floor for debate.