Victory for Fair Maps in Kansas!
Judge Finds Gerrymandered Congressional Maps Violate Kansas Constitution, Orders Legislature to Redraw Maps Ahead of 2022 Election
Kansas City, KS — Today, in a win for fair maps, a Kansas district court ruled that the state’s recently enacted congressional map constituted a partisan gerrymander and intentionally diluted the voting power of racial minorities, violating the Kansas Constitution.
Campaign Legal Center and the ACLU of Kansas, along with pro bono assistance from Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP, filed the suit in Wyandotte County District Court earlier this year on behalf of 11 Kansas voters.
“Kansas voters of all parties and races deserve fair and neutral maps that take community input into account and allow all voters to make their voices heard,” said Paul Smith, senior vice president at Campaign Legal Center. “With the 2022 election around the corner, it is more important than ever that Kansans feel confident that their vote counts.”
“We are thankful that Judge Klapper saw this map for what it was – a deliberate attempt to silence the political voices of Democratic and minority Kansans,” said Sharon Brett, the ACLU of Kansas’ legal director. “Although we know this case is not over yet, we look forward to settling this issue and securing the rights of our clients in the Kansas Supreme Court.”
The suit, Alonzo et al. v. Schwab, was filed on behalf of 10 plaintiffs who live in Johnson or Wyandotte counties and one plaintiff who lives in Lawrence. It successfully argued that the map cracks the most racially diverse county in Kansas in half to dilute the voices of Democratic and minority voters.
The lawsuit argued that the congressional map constitutes a partisan gerrymander and intentionally dilutes the voting power of minorities violating the Equal Rights and Political Power Clauses, Free Speech and Free Assembly Clauses and the Right to Suffrage provisions of the Kansas Constitution.
The Kansas Legislature passed the map, dubbed “Ad Astra 2,” in a process that took less than two weeks, ignored public input and required an override of Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto. Partisan intent was evident from the outset of the redistricting cycle when the then-Senate President announced her plan to lock in one-party control.
The court blocked the gerrymandered maps from taking effect and ordered that the Kansas Legislature to return to the drawing board and produce fair maps that ensure every voter has an equal voice ahead of the 2022 election.
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