Archive for Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Statehouse Live: Readjusted population counts will impact legislative redistricting in Lawrence

July 27, 2011, 10:28 a.m. Updated July 27, 2011, 4:00 p.m.


— A unique provision in the Kansas Constitution puts Lawrence, and Manhattan for that matter, at a disadvantage in the process of redrawing boundaries for legislative districts.

Related document

Census Readjustment ( .PDF )

The reason? Lawrence and Manhattan are home to large regents schools -- Kansas University and Kansas State University, respectively.

The Kansas Constitution and state law require that when the Legislature re-draws state district boundaries, it exclude non-resident college students and non-resident military personnel. It also must include resident college students and resident military personnel in the district of their permanent residence.

So while Lawrence has a population of 87,643 people -- as counted by the 2010 U.S. Census -- it has a population of 75,731, according to the state-required adjustment that was conducted by the Kansas Secretary of State's office.

That means there are 11,912 people living in Lawrence, who for district mapping purposes are considered living somewhere else even though they may be voting in Lawrence. Where students declare their permanent residence is unrelated to where they can register to vote.

And that means to create a legislative district in Lawrence, more people must be brought in to reach the optimum size of 22,716 for a House district and 70,986 for a Senate district. Additionally, that means, folks like state Sen. Marci Francisco and state Reps. Paul Davis and Barbara Ballard, all Lawrence Democrats, actually have more people living in their districts than their colleagues.

“It's significant,” Davis said Wednesday. “It dilutes Lawrence's representation in the Legislature.”

Davis said Kansas is the only state that does this re-count.

“It needs to be changed,” Davis said. “Unfortunately, it will require a constitutional amendment.”

That would require approval from two-thirds of the Legislature and approval by Kansas voters.

The issue came up during the last round of redistricting, but then re-count was not nearly as drastic as the new one. Lawrence lost 5 percent in the re-count in 2001 as compared with 13.6 percent under the new one.

Davis said some complained 10 years ago that KU did not do enough to get students to declare where they wanted to be counted. This time, he said, KU was aggressive about it — and more of them said they wanted to be counted in their hometowns.

New boundaries for congressional, legislative and State Board of Education districts are currently being worked on by legislators and will be finalized during the 2012 legislative session before undergoing judicial scrutiny.

The Special Committee on Redistricting has been meeting this week in various towns and is scheduled to meet in Lawrence and Overland Park on Sept. 2.


gccs14r 6 years, 9 months ago

Legislative districts should be regular polygons to the extent that is possible.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 9 months ago

Shouldn't they be honest, and call it re-gerrymandering? (OK, I know they're never honest.)

johnnyreb 6 years, 9 months ago

I hope Secretary Kobach remembered to subtract the SRS employees that will no longer be in Lawrence.

WilburM 6 years, 9 months ago

Kansas is the only state in the union that discriminates like this against college towns and those with large military populations. But legislators still do represent these folks, and many vote in the place of residence -- that is, the college towns and those with military bases.

Another, long-term slap at Lawrence. And of course it costs money to adjust the federal census.

SDTPlant 6 years, 9 months ago

Ein, zwei, drei-okay Larryvillians, everyone get in lockstep with Kris Kobach here in Brownbackistan. Shame on you for not following the party line.

average 6 years, 9 months ago

It is a very weird system, since the students are allowed to register and vote in their 'temporary' home (I did at 18), but still aren't counted there for apportionment. Not that I should give Kobach any ideas to force the (admittedly small number of) student voters to vote in Dodge City or Olathe or wherever.

Scott Morgan 6 years, 9 months ago

This has nothing to do with either man.

veggiegirl 6 years, 9 months ago

Wait, did the population reported in this piece originally (somewhere around 110,000) just change to 87,643?

Jonathan Kealing 6 years, 9 months ago

No, we've been reporting about 87,000 the entire time.

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 9 months ago

Isn't it possible for a state constitution to violate the US constitution? Perhaps Lawrence should sue the state of Kansas in federal court. The federal court system could then declare that provision of the Kansas constitution in violation of the US constitution. One would think that the various voters rights laws at the federal level would afford protection against that. Of course, I'm not a lawyer so I could be way off base and I admit that...

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 9 months ago

I've wondered if there could be a way to split Lawrence into all 4 congressional districts. Perhaps Iowa and 15th being the district boundaries...

imagainstit 6 years, 9 months ago thanks satan, you win in kansas, thanks samian. thanks wolves in sheeps clothing. thanks pharisees and hypocrites. thanks, topeka, 666 zipcode.

Stephen Roberts 6 years, 9 months ago

Oh boy. If this is such a huge problem, why doesn't Davis & Ballard offer a constitutional amendment? Oh yeah, i keep forgetting, the only thing I really hear from these two are complaining and whining.

tomatogrower 6 years, 9 months ago

They could offer one, but do you really think anyone in Topeka will listen? It wouldn't even get out of a committee. If you are unhappy with the situation in Kansas, remember the Republicans have controlled Kansas for a long time, really forever. The problem is that the Republican party used to be progressive - opposing slavery, women's voting rights, freedom, etc. Now they are have become an arm of the "Family", which wants a theocracy.

SDTPlant 6 years, 9 months ago

In this fiefdom, when life gives you tomatoes, make ketchup (or catsup.) I'll tell you how out of touch the leaders of Brownbackistan are if Michelle Bachmann of Minneesotahstan's most recent interview this a.m. is any indication and it is.

She still thinks that we're all behind this move to replace the constitution with the tea partiers truckloads of ballshot. While it may be true that the Republican's have long controlled Kansas, these lunatics won't be running the asylum anytime soon if those of us in the middle to, okay, "lefty loonies" have anything to say about it. And we will. Look at the most recent online polls re: who nailed it with their speech the other night on the budget ceiling. It's running 62% Obama-31% Boehner (pronounced Bainer mit a umlaut) and the remaining Watsonian 7% in a solution like fog.

She and our lord are like two peas in the proverbial pod. They'd make good split pea soup. That's about all.

drake 6 years, 9 months ago

Anytime that Lawrence's representation in the Legislature is diluted it is a good thing for normal Kansans.

drake 6 years, 9 months ago

Anytime that Lawrence's representation in the Legislature is diluted it is a good thing for normal Kansans.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.