Redistricting

Stateline Midwest ~ November 2012

When the 2012 session of the Kansas Legislature adjourned last May, lawmakers left one important piece of business unfinished. Their inability to come to closure on the politically charged issue of redistricting left Kansas alone among the 50 states without a new set of maps going into this year’s congressional and legislative elections, and eventually forced a panel of federal district court judges to finish the job.

This year’s stalemate may have been unprecedented in the Sunflower State, but Kansas’ redistricting process is unique among Midwestern states in other ways as well. Like all other states, Kansas relies on U.S. Census Bureau data as a starting point in the decennial process of drawing new district lines. 

But the Kansas Constitution requires that the population data provided by the federal government be adjusted before maps are drawn.

Stateline Midwest ~ September 2012

Ohio voters will decide in November whether the task of redistricting should be taken away from state elected officials and put in the hands of a 12-member commission. 

States around the Midwest are preparing to redistrict congressional and legislative seats, and Iowa's process remains a unique model in the region -- and the nation.

It isn’t encouraging when a professor from the Columbia University Law School, who specializes in redistricting, tells you that your state will almost certainly be sued when redistricting takes place across the country next year.

“You are going to get sued,” said Nathaniel Persily, the professor in question, at the Intergovernmental Affairs Committee meeting Sunday afternoon. ”That’s true. There’s going to be a lot of that.”

One of the big issues that may be generating some of the lawsuits concerns how prisoners...

Since the 17th Amendment severed the direct relationship between state legislatures and the U.S. Senate nearly 100 years ago, the redistricting process has become the single most important lever for states to influence the composition of Congress. With the midterm elections over and new majorities waiting in the wings in 19 state legislative chambers (see breakdown here) as well as the U.S. House of Representatives, all eyes will soon turn to state capitols for redistricting decisions that will likely echo for a decade to come.

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