Fri June 8, 2012
Kansas Redistricting Maps Spark Huge Political Shake-Up
A three-judge panel set new electoral maps for Kansas' congressional, state House, state Senate and Board of Education districts in a ruling last night, according to the Kansas City Star / AP.
The new congressional map expands the western 1st District to include Manhattan, which was previously in the 2nd District. The entire city of Lawrence is now in the 2nd District.
Judges wrote in the unsigned order that they re-drew the maps on their own, after considering the maps of 27 individuals allowed to intervene in the case.
"Most of the interveners have unabashedly political reasons for intervening, and they seek to advance their respective political agendas," the judges wrote.
The most contentious arguments came over state Senate maps. The Senate is currently controlled by moderate Republicans, but a turnover of two seats in the next election will shift the balance to conservatives.
It wasn't immediately clear whether the new state legislative districts favor conservative or moderate Republicans, whose feud created the legislative standoff.
State lawmakers usually tackle redistricting and re-draw electoral maps every 10 years, after new census figures come out, in order to make sure districts have equal numbers of population. But this year, conflicts between conservative and moderate Republicans stalled the process, resulting in a federal lawsuit that left the job to the courts.