League of Women Voters pushes open state redistricting process

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The League of Women Voters of Kentucky has released maps it says shows how boundaries of Kentucky’s legislative districts can be drawn to make districts more compact and fair.

“We’re doing this now to show our fellow Kentuckians what simpler, fairer maps can look like and to encourage broad citizen involvement in next year’s redistricting work,” explained LWVKY President Fran Wagner.

After each federal census, each state must redraw boundaries for their congressional and state legislative districts. Results from the 2020 census will be released sometime in 2021, and Kentucky redistricting is likely to occur late in 2021 or early 2022.

LWVKY joins Leagues across the nation in working toward fair maps.

The LWVKY maps released Tuesday reflect 2010 census data and can be compared with the official ones created by the General Assembly in 2012 and 2013. Copies of these maps as they are now, and as they could have been, were sent to all Kentucky legislators.

They are also available at lwvky.org.

“We designed districts without considering how that might affect current legislators, aiming to meet the legal rules and avoid gerrymandered and confusing district lines,” Wagner said. “We don’t think legislators should be choosing their voters. We think democracy means the voters choose their representatives.”

In addition to ignoring incumbents, LWVKY aimed for compact districts with simple lines, and when a county had to be divided, tried not to split up voters who live in the county seat.

The maps also follow three important legal rules:

  • One person, one vote. Districts must be nearly equal in population. U.S. House districts must be very, very close to perfectly equal. Kentucky House and Senate seats must be within 5% of perfectly equal size.
  • Opportunity. Redistricting must provide “districts of opportunity” where minority voters have a chance to select representatives of their choosing.
  • County lines. Kentucky House and Senate districts must not divide counties except when needed to create nearly equal districts.

The possible maps drawn by the League are now available for download at www.lwvky.org. Wagner added one more point: “We really want citizen comments on these maps. We’ll be doing another set when the 2020 Census data is released, and ideas we hear now will help us to draw better maps then.” The League will seek comments as they speak with groups across the state. For more information or to leave comments email kentuckylwv@gmail.com.

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