The ACLU of Kansas and Democrats on Monday filed lawsuits challenging the state’s new Republican-drawn congressional map, the Kansas City Star reports.
The ACLU of Kansas and the Campaign Legal Center filed a lawsuit on behalf of 16 Kansas residents seeking to block the new map.
The Democratic group Democracy Docket also filed a separate lawsuit.
Both lawsuits focus on Wyandotte County, the state’s most racially diverse area, which was split in half in the new map.
The ACLU lawsuit called the map an “extreme and intentional” gerrymander.
The new map also places Democratic-leaning Lawrence County into the Republican-heavy 1st Congressional district.
Both lawsuits asked the court to declare the map unconstitutional.
Republicans insisted that the lines are “fair and drawn to account for changes in population” after the latest census.
“At its heart, the once-per-decade redistricting process is about ensuring every person’s vote counts. The newly enacted congressional boundaries do that, and we are prepared to vigorously defend them against any partisan political lawsuits that long have been threatened,” Attorney General Derek Schmidt said in a statement.
“It is no surprise that Democrats are trying to sue to make Kansas blue, since they are struggling at the ballot box,” Senate President Ty Masterson said in a statement. “The map creates compact and contiguous districts with zero deviation, preserves existing district cores, and groups together communities of interest. It is also politically fair, keeping all four members of Congress within their current seats, and each would have still won had the map been in place in 2020.”
“The people in the Kansas City metropolitan area have a real need and desire to elect representatives that are going to represent their interests in Congress,” Sharon Brett, legal director of the ACLU of Kansas, told the Star. “What this map does is basically run roughshod over those interests and over those desires and does so for political gain … we cannot be in the business of playing partisan games with constitutional rights.”
“It appears from the process that legislative leadership knew what they wanted to do and they went and did it and consequences be damned,” she added.