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Kansas Senate Overrides Gov. Kelly on Redistricting

Redistricting causes tension as Northeast Kansas splits up

Gabriel Johnson 

The Kansas State Senate received backlash from Democrats as it enacted a redistricting map on Feb. 9 after overriding Governor Laura Kelly’s veto. 

The Kansas Senate voted 27-11 in favor of overriding Kelly’s veto. With that, the new map was released. Cities like Lawrence and Wyandotte were moved into the 1st Congressional District. These cities are now grouped in with the majority of Western Kansas. 

Kansas Democrats were unhappy with the look of the new map, as they feel it has been Gerrymandered too much. 

Douglas County, which was in the second district when it voted for Kelly in 2019, now belongs to the first. The first district spans all the way to the western border and is Kansas’ largest district by far. 

The proposed map had an emphasis on Northeast Kansas, as many of the major liberal cities now move to a more conservative district. 

“We’re wringing our hands on how we slice up Northeast Kansas. We’re putting all the focus on Wyandot, Lawrence, and pulling them into all these other districts,” Representative Jeff Pittman said. “And the one thing that never changes on these maps is the magic halo of Wichita, but somehow Northeast Kansas is required to slice and dice and we have to make all these machinations.”

The Kansas State House will finalize the bill in the coming weeks.