FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 13, 2020
Contact: Delores Pregliasco
FRANKFORT – The League of Women Voters of Kentucky is seeking legislative sponsors for a Kentucky Fair Maps Act to create a citizen-led redistricting commission to draw the next set of maps for the Commonwealth’s state and federal legislative districts.
“For much of our country’s history, partisan gerrymandering has allowed legislators to pick their voters rather than the other way around,” said Fran Wagner, president of the Kentucky League. “That’s not the way it should be, which is why more and more states are putting this responsibility into the hands of unbiased people committed to making sure communities are preserved rather than split to fulfill a political goal.”
The legislation is designed to create a fifteen-member Advisory Redistricting Commission, with eight members chosen by members of both parties in the General Assembly and seven more selected by the eight members from a list of randomly selected voters.
If the Act becomes law, the Commission will gather statewide input and develop new state and federal legislative maps of compact districts of equal size that reflect Kentucky’s diversity. While the General Assembly will make the final decision, the bill will require legislators to consider the Commission’s recommendations first and ask the Commission for revisions second, with an option of developing its own plan after completing those steps.
The goal is to develop fair maps based on wide public input. Fifteen other states have similar redistricting commissions, and a recent study found that 60 million Americans live in a state where at least one legislative chamber is controlled by a party that received fewer statewide votes.
The Kentucky Fair Maps bill is fully drafted and ready to be filed, and the League is now reaching out to legislators to obtain sponsors.
During their campaign for the Fair Maps Act, the League of Women Voters will work to build public awareness, alert legislators to citizens’ concerns, and show legislators the broad public desire for fair maps for Kentucky districts.
If passed, Wagner said that this bill will make it easier for voters to learn about and contact their legislators and ensure their interests are represented. “Court rulings over the years have reduced some of the worst impulses behind redistricting, but the U.S. Supreme Court made it clear this past summer that it will not get involved with partisan gerrymandering,” Wagner said. “That means what happens at the state level is more important than ever. That is why it is absolutely critical that Kentucky’s legislative maps are truly reflective of Kentucky’s voters. Anything less should not be acceptable.”
The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan organization that promotes the informed and active participation of citizens in government through study and action.