Make legislative redistricting process transparent and fair

In the past, the General Assembly has redrawn legislative maps virtually in secret, resulting in lawsuits, delays and accusations of gerrymandering, writes Eileen White, vice president of the Hopkinsville-Christian County League of Women Voters.

The Editor, Hoptown Chronicle, 

Every 10 years, according to law, our nation conducts a census. Many of us completed our 2020 U.S. Census forms online for the first time, a process that only took a few minutes. The data created in those few minutes, however, contributes to a powerful body of information that affects each of us individually and as a state. 

Our state is expected to receive its Census data by late Summer. Once the 2020 Census data is received, the General Assembly will begin to redraw the boundaries for State Senate and State House districts, as well as those for Kentucky’s six seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Redrawing legislative boundaries will have an effect on Kentucky for the next 10 years.

In the past, the General Assembly conducted the process of redrawing legislative maps virtually in secret. This resulted in lawsuits, delays, and accusations of the manipulation of districts (a tactic known as gerrymandering). 

The process of redrawing legislative maps should be open, fair, and transparent. The redistricting process should be conducted with input from the communities affected to include public interest groups and the general public. The Kentucky League of Women Voters has proposed that Kentucky establish a 15 member citizens Advisory Redistricting Commission to conduct public hearings across the State and make recommendations to the General Assembly (House Bill 23).

Our own community is an example of the effects of convoluted districts. Currently, Christian County is divided into three State House districts (4,8,9). This results in Hopkinsville, the center of population in our county, being divided three ways. This has had a tremendous effect on how our community’s interests are represented. District 4, for example, stretches from near our state border in the south to the Ohio River in the north. Together with Districts 8 and 9, representation of our county is lumped into a grouping of 5 counties. 

We, the citizens of Kentucky, should have input into ensuring Fair Maps for Kentucky. House Concurrent Resolution (HCR)61 provides for an open and transparent redistricting process with opportunities for public input. Please contact your legislators to voice your support for this proposed legislation. 

Finally, please visit the Unite Hopkinsville page on Facebook. Content and graphics on this page can provide you with further information on the need for an open, fair, and transparent process in recreating the legislative districts of Kentucky. 

Eileen White
Vice President
Hopkinsville-Christian County League of Women Voters

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