Saturday, January 21, 2012

Redistricting outrage in Kentucky

Only 3 things in life are certain: death, taxes, and Republican gerrymandering becoming even more grotesque with each decennial census. But this time, Republicans in Kentucky may have finally bitten off more than they can chew.

Faced with the fact that population trends favor urban areas that are becoming heavily Democratic, Republicans in the Kentucky Senate have just approved a redistricting for their own 38-member chamber that contorts geography well beyond the limits of the permissible. This remap passed and has been signed into law. This after lawmakers delayed the redistricting just so there wouldn't be enough time to fight it before the candidate filing deadline.

The new districts are so oddly shaped as to be unconstitutional. In the '90s, the U.S. Supreme Court threw out congressional districts in other states that were less strangely drawn, even though the Voting Rights Act said they had to be drawn in the manner that the Supreme Court rejected. What's Kentucky's excuse for producing such a bizarre remap, considering that this gerrymandering wasn't even inspired by the Voting Rights Act?

And it's not just the shape of the new districts. Realizing they couldn't completely eliminate unfriendly districts, GOP legislators actually renumbered several Democratic districts to force them to be represented by lawmakers who don't live anywhere near the district. With the Kentucky Senate's staggered terms, these districts would be stuck with a nonresident senator for years.

And people...are...mad!

Ten years ago, people would have just said, "So what?" and moved on. But those days have passed. So there's going to be a massive public protest against the Republicans' redistricting tomorrow from 4 to 6 PM at the intersection of Main & Limestone in Lexington.

What effect will this have? This rally will likely encourage a legal challenge to the new districts. Indeedity-doodledy, Kentucky legislative districts have been overturned by the state's high court over much less. (That's how the abominable Joe Fischer got elected.)

If this redistricting is allowed to stand, it will largely strip Kentucky state government of its legitimacy. Our laws are supposed to be made by duly elected representatives. These lawmakers must be chosen in a manner that follows laws and constitutional standards.


  1. stan the moustache lee is an outrage

  2. Hard to believe you would be so outraged by the Republicans in the Senate but not concerned with what the Democrats are doing in the House. Is it possible you are a little biased?

    1. The difference is that the Democrats didn't do anything illegal. Nor did they create any districts where the current legislator lives outside the district.

      The Democrats had to get a more favorable map just by default, since Louisville and Lexington gained so many people in the new census. Plus, Obama's best county in the state is one of the fastest growing rural counties. The rural counties that vote Republican are growing only slowly if at all.