Archive for Monday, April 23, 2012

Kobach warns of redistricting crisis

April 23, 2012


— Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach publicly warned legislators Monday that a potential constitutional crisis is brewing because the state's political boundaries haven't been adjusted yet, but he was wary of a proposal to postpone the state's primary election.

Kobach, a Republican and Kansas' chief elections official, said he worries that some members of the GOP-controlled Legislature believe that the Kansas Supreme Court can redraw legislative districts if lawmakers fail to do so.

But the Kansas Constitution says only that the high court reviews proposals approved by legislators and determines whether they are valid or whether lawmakers must try again.

A bitter split among conservative and moderate Republicans has prevented the Senate from approving legislation that redraws members' districts. The House has approved a bipartisan plan for adjusting state representatives' districts, but it has stalled in the Senate. Both chambers have approved a congressional redistricting plan and killed the other chamber's proposal.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt, also a Republican, already has warned legislators and GOP Gov. Sam Brownback that the state may have to delay its primary election if redistricting issues aren't resolved quickly. He said the state also may face legal costs if residents sue because there's no agreement on new congressional districts.

Legislators return Wednesday from their annual spring break, and the session wrap-up could last until mid-May. But Kobach said problems will arise if new district boundaries aren't approved by May 10, which is why he held a news conference — to "sound the alarm bell."

"The clock is ticking, and they have to act quickly when they come back into session," he said. "This is a real potential for crisis here."

Legislators must redraw their districts and the state's four congressional districts to account for shifts in population over the past decade.

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, a Topeka Democrat, said legislators agree that they need to move quickly, and he's hoping that they will resolve redistricting issues next week.

"Kobach has entered the process here at a fairly late date," Hensley said. "If he was at all concerned about us dragging our feet, he probably should have made a statement, you know, over a month ago."

Kansas law says that if they don't complete redistricting by May 10, the candidate filing deadline will be postponed from June 1 to June 11.

Even if legislators finish their work on time, the state constitution gives the attorney general and the Supreme Court up to 45 days — until June 24 — to review plans for new state House and Senate districts.

Kobach noted that if the primary election date remains Aug. 7 as scheduled, federal law will require Kansas to distribute ballots to military personnel by June 23. Kobach said county election officials will need at least a week of preparation ahead of that deadline.

Some legislators already are anticipating a need to postpone the primary. The House Appropriations Committee agreed last week to sponsor a bill delaying the election until Aug. 28 if new political boundaries aren't set by May 15.

But Kobach doesn't like the idea, saying it's likely to confuse candidates and voters and also will shorten the general election campaign.

"Moving it at the last minute, as a last-ditch resort to avoid violating federal law, would be problematic," he said. "Logistically, it would be difficult, and I just think, democratically, it's difficult for people running for office and for constituents."

In a letter to Brownback and legislative leaders, Schmidt raised the possibility that the state would be forced to postpone its primary. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter on Monday. The letter, dated Friday, also notes that if there's no agreement on congressional districts, lawsuits are likely.

In 1982, when the GOP-controlled Legislature approved a plan, then-Gov. John Carlin, a Democrat, vetoed it. Two groups of residents sued, and a panel of three federal judges drew the new lines. But the state was forced to pay their legal bills, amounting to about $27,000.

Schmidt noted that an Illinois case from 2000 resulted in legal bills of about $7 million.


kansanjayhawk 6 years, 2 months ago

Amazing that the GOP cannot get its act together It is time for some mods to compromise this is a Republican majority isn't it?

rtwngr 6 years, 1 month ago

Why not. Anytime the mods or the left talk compromise they mean agree with them, not meet in the middle somewhere.

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 1 month ago

Yes-- I have looked at the maps and they create 2 Democrat State Senatorial districts encompassing northern Lawrence and Jefferson County and much of the old Holland district to the east! What is shameful is that the liberal GOP senators are creating this unnecessary redistricting train wreck. Make no mistake about it this is being caused by the liberal members who want to hold on to their power.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 1 month ago

"You are a bold faced liar. And you call yourself a Christian?" You're just now realizing this? kjh is not a "Christian", s/he is a "Christianist" (big difference) and a big believer in "Supply Side Jesus" and "prosperity gospel". This person is about as "Christian" as their hero, Sam Brownback, and gives real Christians a bad name.

Bob_Keeshan 6 years, 2 months ago

Here's a solution that was offered in February, 2009.

Funny how it isn't mentioned in this story, as one of the chicken littles being referenced, Attorney General Derek Schmidt, is also mentioned here:

Legislative leaders from both parties Wednesday endorsed a plan for turning down the partisan volume while redrawing boundaries for legislative, congressional and state board of education districts.

Instead of leaving this fight exclusively in the hands of the Legislature in 2012, the proposal shifts responsibility for developing new maps to nonpartisan legislative research staff members and a new five-person commission. The House and Senate would take up-or-down votes on all maps. Tweaking of districts to undercut political rivals would no longer be the rule.

"It precludes the option of trying to pit one individual against another, pick off individuals by making small changes in district boundaries and do all the other things that happen in the midst of a redistricting process that are, frankly, the cause of a lot of animosity," said Senate Majority Leader Derek Schmidt, R-Independence.

irvan moore 6 years, 1 month ago

can we redistrict mr. kolbach to another state

overthemoon 6 years, 1 month ago

At her talk on Sunday in KC, Rachel Maddow referred to Kobach as the new number one Kansas export.

cato_the_elder 6 years, 1 month ago

If you're interested in anything that Rachel Madcow has to say, then you are indeed over the moon.

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 1 month ago

Now, now, now, that is really not a very nice or civil "liberal" thing for you to say...

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 1 month ago

Hon, I'll hug your elephant when you kiss my "donkey".

headdoctor 6 years, 1 month ago

So the legislators are so ignorant they needed a warning and thought it should have been done a month sooner. Pretty bad that their intelligence is lower than even Kobach. The real problem is they have wasted to much time stalling, cooking up unconstitutional laws instead of actually addressing real issues and spending even more time being obsessed with the female body and how best to return them to slavery.

Fossick 6 years, 1 month ago

I suspect the truth is that there nothing so petty that Hensley cannot complain about it. Kobach is being petty here - there is simply no reason for him to "sound an alarm bell" other than to get on TV. That Hensley is out of one side of his mouth saying "We know, we know," and out at the other side saying, "you should have told us a month ago" is pretty much on par for the man.

I wonder how much of the Democrats' problems in Kansas is due to the fact that they consistently choose leadership of of Hensley's quality.

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 1 month ago

really---is that the problem---I don't think so...the laws they have passed are very Constitutional and they address the abuses that have occured in the state of Kansas. The majorities for these laws have been overwhelming and bipartisan so I don't really think that is the problem... Maybe you might look at a bunch of State Senator's trying to line out possible opposition candidates in the upcoming primary election as a possible problem? Maybe you might want to focus on the fact that most of these tax and spend liberal Republicans are going to have to face the music at election time and it might not be pretty for some of them!

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 1 month ago

Name one...just ONE...Democrat that voted for Brownback/AUL's anti-abortion BS. That is NOT "bi-partisan".

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 1 month ago

Once Kobach gets done with his voter suppression campaign, there'll only be about 1000 eligible voters in Kansas, and they'll all be getting instructions from the Koch Bros. on how to vote. So what difference does redistricting make, anyway?

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 1 month ago

Another false liberal charge with no basis...

Fossick 6 years, 1 month ago

No, but it serves the same purpose as going to a horror film, and for less money. Think of it as liberal catharsis but without the feeling of tranquility at the end.

cato_the_elder 6 years, 1 month ago

"'Kobach has entered the process here at a fairly late date,' (Anthony) Hensley said. 'If he was at all concerned about us dragging our feet, he probably should have made a statement, you know, over a month ago.'"

Instead of expressing appreciation to Secretary Kobach for his efforts to encourage resolution of a serious dispute in order to avoid a potential constitutional crisis, Hensley proves again that he's nothing more than a partisan hack.

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 1 month ago

That is correct the D's including Hensley really are being quite the obstrutionists I'm sure they wish they had more that 8 votes out of 40...Kobach is doing the right thing even if Hesley does not like his timing. The sad truth is that if Kobach had said something a month ago I'm sure Hensley would have criticized that as well.

rtwngr 6 years, 1 month ago

Takes one to know one. Thanks for the constructive criticism.

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 1 month ago

Another liberal devoid of any ideas except for "name-calling". If you have a real issue with Mr. Kobach why don't you address that?

Michael LoBurgio 6 years, 1 month ago

Kansas attorney general: Remapping failure could bring legal costs

TOPEKA | Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has told Gov. Sam Brownback and legislative leaders that failing to agree on a congressional redistricting plan could prove expensive for the state. Schmidt says in a letter that if there is no agreement, the state is likely to face litigation, and Kansas could be forced to pay the legal fees of anyone who sues. That happened in 1982, when legislators approved a U.S. House redistricting plan that was vetoed by then-Gov. John Carlin. Two groups of residents sued the state, and a panel of federal judges drew new lines. The state faced $27,000 in legal fees.

Read more here:

@DemocratsDGofKS Take the ba out of kobach and you get a #Koch

Michael LoBurgio 6 years, 1 month ago


2000-2007: UFO sightings (32,229) Deaths by lightning (352) Possible cases of voter impersonation (9)

@DemocratsDGofKS Take the ba out of kobach and you get a #Koch

Mike Ford 6 years, 1 month ago

der kommissar kobach doesn't like multiculturalism in Kansas. Maybe Commandant Brownback should appoint him to a new position... Office of racial integrity much like the late Eric Plecker had in Virginia until the 1940's going around and marking Native American Virginians birth cerificates colored pushing paper genocide like voter suppression.

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 1 month ago

More incoherent dribble that means nothing. Discuss the issue you disagree with don't simply issue these personal attacks--this is why the left is losing the debate...

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 1 month ago

More incoherent dribble that means nothing. Discuss the issue you disagree with don't simply issue these personal attacks--this is why the left is losing the debate...

Fossick 6 years, 1 month ago

You're my obsession My fetish, my religion My confusion, my confession The one I want tonight You are my obsession The question and conclusion You are, you are, you are My fetish you are (From a source) #KochHabit

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 6 years, 1 month ago

Talk about bias. This problem was primarily caused by REPUBLICAN Tim Owens who is trying to keep from having an opponent in his re-election bid. All of this cost and difficulty because of one sleazy REPUBLICAN. Surely the AP can admit that.

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 1 month ago

Don't forget about Carolyn McGinn down in Harvey County who had her opponent lined out into another has happened in several moderate members districts. Apparently they do not want to face the music for their tax and spending ways in the Legislature...some of these mods are going to have to go at election time.

usnsnp 6 years, 1 month ago

All it is about agroup of people that want to keep their gravy train jobs, without having to fight for them. They are nothing but a bunch of cowards.

camper 6 years, 1 month ago

Moderate Republican is now Liberal.

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 1 month ago

If it looks like a duck and acts like a duck and quacks like a duck it probably really is a duck...RINO retirement time...

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 1 month ago

You're so far right, you call moderates "Communists".

deec 6 years, 1 month ago

You know, when you skip all the posts by the undead, these threads don't take any time at all to read. :)

Jonathan Becker 6 years, 1 month ago

And in other news, Kris Kobach proposed that Kansas abandon the Gregorian calendar to solve the redistricting process. . . .

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