4Star Politics: Redrawing political lines as battle over redistricting looms in Kansas

4Star Politics

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Kansas lawmakers plan to hold more than a dozen town hall meetings later this year as they discuss how the Legislature should redraw political boundaries.

The state must redraw congressional, legislative and State Board of Education districts every 10 years to reflect shifts in the population. The Republican-controlled Legislature plans to tackle the work next year so that the new lines are in place for the June 2022 candidate filing deadline.

What happens with redistricting will likely have a big impact on the outcome of the 2022 primary and the election. It’s the topic of this week’s episode of 4Star Politics. FOX4’s John Holt and The Kansas City Star’s Dave Helling are joined by Jonathan Shorman and Katie Bernard, both political reporters for The Kansas City Star to discuss the implications.

“A lot of the the things have to have similar economic interests that you want to try to stick to similar districts would already exist. Those are guidelines, not written into law, so if the legislature thinks they have a compelling reason to depart from the guidelines there’s not necessarily any precedent for the court to tell them they can’t do that,” Bernard said.

The GOP holds the super majority in the legislature. Leaders are required to redraw lines, based on the latest census information, and the map had to be acceptable to a court and a two-thirds vote or the signature of Governor Kelly.

“It’s all about which portion of which county in which neighborhoods are which cities get shifted to make the maps work,” Helling said.

Two of the biggest impacts the metro could see is if Wyandotte County is added to part of the First District or if Johnson County is split into two districts. As lawmakers wait to see what happens, some candidates are uncertain what their districts will look like, which is a challenge for campaigns.

“It’s really a scramble, you know, they have to kind of find, you know, get a sense of their new constituencies and and really quickly build out campaigns that that address these these new districts which sometimes mean reaching to reach out to voters who have never heard of you before. So yeah, it can be quite a challenge for these candidates to do that quickly,” Shoreman said.

This is similar to what the state of Kansas went through following the 2010 census, and federal courts had to eventually get involved.

FOX4 and The Kansas City Star are partnering to bring you 4Star Politics, a special digital venture with new episodes released Wednesdays at 5 p.m.

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