Kansas voters pass constitutional amendment to end census adjustments for redistricting

photo by: Associated Press

In this Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018 file photo, Scott Schwab responds to questions during an interview in his Statehouse office in Topeka, Kan. (AP Photo/John Hanna, File)

Topeka — Kansas voters were on track Tuesday night to end the state’s unusual policy of using its own numbers in addition to federal census data to redraw boundaries of state legislative districts.

Although not all of Kansas’ counties had reported to the Kansas secretary of state’s office by the Journal-World’s press time, the amendment appeared likely to win by a large margin — 60% of voters were in favor of it at 10:20 p.m. Tuesday, with 72 of the state’s 105 counties finished reporting and 14 reporting only partial figures.

The amendment to the Kansas Constitution will eliminate a requirement for the state to adjust federal census figures when the Legislature redistricts itself.

Under the old procedures, the state counted college students and military personnel not where they were living but in a “permanent” home elsewhere. That was outside Kansas for thousands of people, and the practice cost university towns some political clout.

Before Tuesday’s election results came back, Secretary of State Scott Schwab argued that the policy was outdated and said the next adjustment for 2022 would cost $835,000.

Kansas was among only a few states that adjusted federal census figures for redistricting.

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