January 31, 2021
Governor Laura Kelly
300 SW 10th Ave., Ste. 241S
Topeka, KS 66612-1590
RE: The Ad Astra 2 Map
Dear Governor Kelly,
The ACLU of Kansas has watched the redistricting process closely. As part of the KS Fair Maps coalition, we have helped Kansans keep informed about redistricting developments and opportunities for engagement. This work is of the utmost importance. The lines being drawn today will determine who holds positions of power in our state for the next ten years—and how well the will of the people is represented in rooms where decisions about our lives are made.
It is from that vantage point that we ask you to veto the Ad Astra 2 map. The redistricting process has been opaque and rushed. Although they have had limited opportunities for engagement, Kansans from across the state have repeatedly made clear: redistricting requires a fair process. Moreover, those who provided testimony at town halls and before the redistricting committees were strident in their call to keep communities of interest intact—specifically, keeping the urban core of the metro Kansas City area together. The process as a whole, and the map produced as a result, ignored both of these reasonable requests. Despite calls from community groups and hundreds of Kansans, the Ad Astra 2 map has made its way to your desk.
The Ad Astra 2 map ignores the directive of the people with regard to Johnson and Wyandotte counties, with the additional insult of placing Lawrence in the “Big First”. Add to that, the sponsors of this map have been either unable, or unwilling, to answer the most basic questions about the map’s origins and its implications for the communities it carves up. There are serious concerns about the viability of the map as it is drawn, concerns that have been brushed aside at every opportunity.
If the Ad Astra 2 map becomes law, it will send a very clear message to communities that their voice does not matter. It will show all those who participated in this process and all those who are watching, that our leaders do not care to represent the will of the people. If all the organizations shouting from the rooftops about process and fairness, and hundreds upon hundreds of pieces of testimony, are ignored, it will be a devastating blow to public confidence in our democracy and the people who are supposed to protect it.
It is from this perspective of integrity and fairness that we ask you to veto the Ad Astra 2 map.
Micah W. Kubic