Constituent engagement in redistricting process: Kansas commissions urge transparency

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FILE – In this June 25, 2020, file photo, two young children hold signs through the car window that make reference to the 2020 U.S. Census as they wait in the car with their family at an outreach event in Dallas. A delay in census data is scrambling plans in some states to redraw districts for the U.S. House and state legislatures. The Census Bureau has said redistricting data that was supposed to be provided to states by the end of March won’t be ready until August or September. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Kansas Hispanic and Latino American Affairs Commission, the Kansas African American Affairs Commission, and the Kansas Commission on Disability Concerns sent a joint letter to the Kansas Redistricting Committee Monday outlining steps it should take to ensure constituent participation, transparency, and accessibility during the redistricting process.

“It is crucial that the redistricting process is as transparent as possible and that as many people have the opportunity to be involved in the decisions that will impact who their voice in the legislature is for potentially the next decade,” the letter says. “Yet, there remain several steps this committee should take to ensure constituent participation.”

Suggested steps outlined in the letter include:

  • Holding hearings in an Americans with Disability Act (ADA) compliant space;
  • Providing both sign language and Spanish language interpreters, and notifying the public of the availability of such services;
  • Ensuring several meetings be held during the evening and on the weekends to accommodate working schedules;
  • And including maps and/or statements submitted by Communities of Interest.

“These steps are not egregious in their scope and should be considered to ensure Kansans have confidence in the procedures that will shape our collective future,” the letter says.

To read the full letter, click here.

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