Redistricting The new Kansas political map has undergone enormous change, courtesy of three judges of the federal district court. And we have to say at first blush, it looks pretty clean. The court did exactly what the Kansas Constitution requires, separated the districts into like communities of as equal numbers as possible. The result was an unraveling of decades of gerrymandering by legislators wheeling and dealing with fellow legislators to protect and extend each others turf.
Clay Center Dispatch
The judges ignored a decades-long tradition of drawing lines that protect incumbents and the party in power even if they make little geographic sense. Instead, the panel drew maps with the stated purpose of producing districts that were compact and contiguous as much as possible. We find the judges decision refreshing.
Daily Union, Junction City
Political leaders described the new district maps in a number of ways: disruptive, confusing and simply a mess. Yet for Kansas voters, the events of the past few days also have been a democratic breath of fresh air. The judges maps stirred up Kansas politics in an arguably positive way.
The strange and muddled Kansas legislative redistricting process concluded with a sort of poetic justice. Conservative Republicans, whose quest for political control was at the core of the Legislatures failure to agree on maps, found their numbers potentially diminished by the new districts drawn by a panel of three federal judges.
Kansas City Star
Unfortunately, the judges did not take time to work out constitutionally acceptable maps for the House and Senate that left a modicum of institutional memory intact in those bodies. Now we practically start over building our elected lawmaking institutions, risking a rush of unprepared wannabes who will try to fill the shoes of seasoned lawmakers.
Winfield Daily Courier
With due diligence and a little luck, Kansans could end up with a Legislature whose members are wiser for the mistakes and the stubbornness of the group who contributed mightily to the present chaos.
We have to ensure the same abdication of duty doesnt take place in 10 years, when redistricting next occurs. If ever proof was lacking that Kansas needs an independent panel drawing its political boundaries, we now have it. State legislators cannot be counted on to fulfill a constitutional requirement. It is time to take the responsibility out of their hands.
Hays Daily News
Carpetbaggers The integrity of elections has generated much attention in recent years, and the Legislature created a law requiring voters to show identification at the polls in an effort to keep fraud out of elections. But those efforts seem almost laughable while watching legislative incumbents quickly roll up their carpets to find new homes within the new boundaries of their old legislative districts. Tightening restrictions on voter rolls while allowing candidates to move on a whim in order to protect their jobs seems to run counter to the idea of pure and honest elections.