Interim Joint State Government Committe hears about Census, redistricting, elections

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Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, discusses the possible need for a special session in the 4th quarter of 2021 to deal with redistricting, in the Interim Joint Committee on State Government. Source: Kentucky General Assembly

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Today’s meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on State Government focused on hearing from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) about upcoming Census data, redistricting and elections.

The 2020 Census used five different methods to collect data: online, by mail, in-person, by phone and imputation. Typical door-to-door data collections were difficult to do because of the COVID-19 pandemic. To address this, the Census Bureau launched the new online option, which according to NCSL, the Census Bureau believes went better than expected.

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The initial group of Census data shows that the total population for all 50 states was 331,449,281. This data helps indicate how many seats each state will have in Congress for the next ten years. South and West growth trends illustrate those regions are growing at the expense of the Midwest and Northwest. 47 out of 50 states saw a population growth in the last decade. Since 2010, the population growth rate was 7.4%, which is the lowest since the 1930s.

NCSL says that the next group of data is expected to arrive by August 16, and the final group will arrive September 20. Some specific population data within each state and demographic data such as age, gender and race is currently unavailable.

Rep. Deanna Frazier, R-Richmond, asks a question about virtual construction inspections of buildings during the Interim Joint Committee on Local Government.
Source: Kentucky General Assembly

Representative Kevin Bratcher of Louisville and Representative Jerry T. Miller of Eastwood are the co-chairs of the House Interim Joint Committee on State Government.

“Kentucky neither gained nor lost a congressional seat. The state’s May 17, 2022 primary is tied for the eighth earliest in the nation and the deadline to redistrict is in 2022. Kentucky is one of seventeen states that is not required by state law to use the Census data for redistricting. It is important for us to be as proactive as possible in the redistricting planning stages,” explained Bratcher.

Wendy Underhill, NCSL Director of Elections and Redistricting discussed the actions following redistricting. “A lot of action is depending on the timeline of redistricting,” said Underhill.

There were several delays in processing the data, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, floods, fires, and policy changes. The delays present numerous problems leaving less time for redistricting. Some problems include filing deadlines, processing timelines, residency of candidates, local election preparations and holding the primary election.

For full details of the meeting, please visit legislature.ky.gov or follow the link here for the meeting materials. To watch the full meeting, visit the Legislative Research Commission YouTube page here.