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A district court judge rejected the Kansas congressional map. What happens next?

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Kansas News Service
With midterm elections approaching later this year, new congressional maps must be confirmed before a June 10 deadline.

A district court judge in Wyandotte County rejected the congressional map drawn by the GOP-led Kansas legislature.

Many Kansans don't yet know which congressional district they will belong to come this fall's midterm elections. After the Kansas Legislature passed a new congressional map, Wyandotte County District Court Judge Bill Klapper ruled it unconstitutional, finding it was racially and politically gerrymandered. The map would split up Wyandotte County into separate districts.

Sherman Smith has been covering the Kansas redistricting battle for the Kansas Reflector. He says Kansas' 3rd congressional district — the only one in the state represented by a Democrat — has been a target for quite some time.

"We saw in 2020 before the general election. The Senate president at that time, Susan Wagle, said in a meeting down in Wichita — a public meeting of Republicans — she said, if we have a two-thirds majority in the Legislature, we can draw a map that makes it clear, makes it certain, that we send four Republicans back to Congress," Smith recalls.

Following an appeal by the state, the case now goes to the Kansas Supreme Court. Oral arguments before the court are set for May 16.

"Either the courts will uphold these maps," says Smith, "or new maps will have to be drawn and reviewed before June 10."

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