KANSAS CITY, Kan. (WDAF) — A judge in Wyandotte County ruled that new, legislatively drawn congressional maps violate the rights of Kansans.
Three lawsuits have been filed challenging the congressional map passed by the Kansas Legislature in February. Under the new map, the northern part of Wyandotte County would go into Congressional District 2, represented by Republican Rep. Jake LaTurner.
Shortly after the Wyandotte County judge’s ruling, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt filed a petition with the Kansas Supreme Court. Schmidt is seeking approval of the state legislative district maps through the state’s highest court, effectively appealing the Wyandotte County judge’s decision.
“The new legislative district boundaries appear to satisfy all legal requirements previously established by state constitutional, statutory or common law,” Schmidt said. “Today, I am asking the Kansas Supreme Court to approve the new district boundaries as quickly as possible so candidate filing for this year’s legislative elections can proceed without unnecessary disruption or delay.”
People in southern Wyandotte and Johnson County would still be represented by Congresswoman Sharice Davids, the only Democrat from Kansas in the U.S. House.
The lawsuits argue that Kansas lawmakers produced maps that create unconstitutional racial vote dilution. According to the ACLU, the map’s new boundaries rammed through the legislature, drowns out the voices of voters in Wyandotte County and in Lawrence.
Specifically, the map removes the northern part of Kansas City from the 3rd District seat and put it in the neighboring 2nd District, which includes Topeka, but also rural communities across eastern Kansas. It also puts a more liberal Lawrence in western Kansas, which is historically more concretive.