Kansas City, MO – A blue ribbon panel has started hearings toward redrawing Kansas City Council boundaries without stepping on voting rights of minority groups. This afternoon it was told the weight of its responsibility.
The city is required by charter to redraw the lines before next March's election.
The ad hoc committee was lectured by Assistant City Attorney, Bill Geary, that it cannot dilute the vote of people based on race. Geary talked of the tests the panel has to use when it considers minorities in a district--"Is this minority group politically cohesive, do the members of this group vote the same way, have many of the same political outlooks?"
The panel is held accountable to abide by the Voting Rights Act. The job is complicated by lack of current census data on population and ethnic concentrations. That data will not be available until early next year, too late to be factored into the current redistricting.