Campaign Legal Center (CLC) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Kansas, in partnership with Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP, filed suit on Feb. 14, 2022 challenging the Kansas congressional redistricting plan as a partisan and racial gerrymander.
Contrary to the Kansas Constitution’s robust equality and speech protections, the Kansas legislature passed a partisan and racially gerrymandered map through a rushed and opaque process. Legislators even openly announced their intent to enact a partisan map at the outset of the 2022 redistricting cycle.
At the beginning of 2022, the Kansas House and Senate passed a congressional redistricting plan in just eight days. After the plan passed the legislature, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly vetoed it. The legislature overrode the veto, and the map became law on Feb. 9, 2022.
The plan splits the Kansas City Metro Area into two separate congressional districts for the first time in decades, giving Republicans a 4-0 advantage in the state’s delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives even though over 40% of Kansans voted Democratic in the 2020 election.
Not only does the map discriminate on partisan grounds, but it also dilutes the strength of minority voters and prevents minorities from electing their candidate of choice.
Under Kansas’ current map, the state is represented by three Republicans and one Democrat. The Democratic district is currently over 30% minority, and minority voters can elect their candidate of choice by voting with white crossover voters.
The new plan splits the state’s only majority-minority county – Wyandotte County – in two by lumping each half into separate congressional districts where their votes are outweighed by white majorities.
Hundreds of Kansans submitted public testimony throughout the 2022 redistricting cycle expressing support for preserving the Kansas City Metro Area in a single congressional district because of the “social, cultural, racial, ethnic, and economic interests” residents in the area share.
This testimony reflects a shared value: when it comes to having a say in who represents us, most of us want a transparent process we can trust, where communities remain together and where voters have an equal voice.
Federal courts have agreed with these constituents for four decades, consistently admonishing that splitting the Kansas City Metro Area into separate congressional districts “makes no sense at all.”
This partisan and racial gerrymander violates the Kansas Constitution, the will of the people and 40 years of court orders. The court should strike it down so that every Kansan can make their voice heard.