The League of Women Voters of Kentucky released a state report, Redistricting Kentucky: A Guidebook for Citizen Participation, defining the redistricting process and why it is an important issue for Kentucky.
The report also:
The report pointed out that Kentucky’s 2012 redistricting process resulted in a court suit which delayed clarifying state House & Senate lines until 2013, This meant that voters waited over a year to learn how they would be represented. That court suit was costly! And not only did taxpayers fund a court process -- Kentucky paid costs for a special legislative session in 2013 to correct the problem.
The last redistricting process was also rushed, with bills moving so quickly that citizens had little chance to participate. The 2013 special session lasted only 5 days. Moving that quickly meant a bare minimum of committee meetings, no public hearings & no opportunity for public input.
This lack of transparency invites a lack of confidence and allows voters to wonder whether they are choosing their legislators or legislators are choosing their constituents.
District lines shape all citizens’ opportunities to participate in their government. Redistricting can make it easier or harder:
For voters to learn about candidates for legislative seats and engage in robust discussions about who can best serve their communities
For citizens to communicate with their legislators once they take office
For members of one party to compete against members of another for election
For people of different racial and language backgrounds to elect candidates they prefer
For various regions of a state (rural or urban, agricultural or industrial, areas experiencing economic growth and those seeing economic decline) to get their interests considered.
Once the KY LWV published their report, other citizens and groups began to study redistricting. The initiative, Kentucky Fair Maps Coalition, grew from this interest because citizens want to learn more and to be involved in shaping voting districts.
The process used to set district lines can provide important opportunities for citizens to participate in shaping their shared future. For example, the process for developing a redistricting plan can be public, transparent, and carried out at a pace that allows citizens to study the plans and communicate concerns and ideas.
That kind of process can really help improve public confidence that the elections held in the resulting districts will allow full and fair participation by all citizens. And that's a process in which YOU can become involved!
Working to make redistricting fairer, more collaborative, and more transparent is a worthwhile civic effort. But we will need YOUR help! Sign up to get involved!