EQKS chairman joins lawsuit over gerrymandered redistricting map

by | February 14, 2022

Tom Alonzo (photo credit Kansas Reflector)

Tom Alonzo, Equality Kansas state board chairman, has joined ACLU in their lawsuit against the Kansas legislature’s gerrymandered congressional map.  The map, known as “Ad Astra 2,” splits Wyandotte County along the Interstate 70 corridor through central Kansas City, Kansas, dividing tens of thousands of minority voters into two congressional districts where they presently reside in one.

Kansas 3rd Congressional district currently includes all of the Kansas City-area counties of Wyandotte and Johnson, along with the northern portion of Miami County.  The new map moves the northern portion of Wyandotte County into the largely rural part of the 2nd Congressional district, while adding the entirety of Anderson, Franklin, and Miami counties, making the 3rd District more Republican and with fewer opportunities for minority candidates to win election.

Followers of this page will know that Sharice Davids, Kansas’ first and only openly-LGBT member of Congress, won election to the 3rd Congressional district in 2018.  She went on to hold her seat and win reelection in 2020.  Davids, who is also one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress, beat a long-term Republican incumbent for her 2018 election, and in 2020 defeated the former chair of the Kansas Republican Party to retain her seat.

Representation matters. Throughout our nation’s history, minority and marginalized populations have struggled to claim their places at the tables of governance. Through their participation, they have helped pave the way for those they represent to more fully integrate into American society and to share in the American dream. Unfortunately, like other minority populations, the LGBTQ community has faced acts of vandalism, violence and even murder as we have sought our own place at that table.

It took many long years to earn our seats at the Kansas table, and we don’t want to lose them to any form of deliberate gerrymandering.  Equality Kansas opposes any proposed plan that draws the incumbent lawmakers into districts with other incumbents, or into districts that shift the partisan balance in such an extreme way that they are unwinnable.  The “Ad Astra 2” map is an attack on Kansas’ minority population and yet another in the long series of legal attacks on Kansas’ LGBTQ population.

A copy of the lawsuit, filed earlier today, is included below.

This marks the third time in less than a decade Equality Kansas or its statewide leadership have filed lawsuits against the state.

In 2013, EQKS sued then-Secretary of State Kris Kobach over his scheme to disenfranchise voters, which had a disparate impact on transgender voters.

In 2016, then-EQKS state chairwoman Stephanie Mott sued the state when the Brownback administration blocked gender amendments to birth cetificates.

Both legal campaigns were ultimately successful.  Kobach’s voter supression efforts were found unconstitutional, and the State of Kansas entered into a permanent consent agreement allowing transgender Kansans to correct their birth certificates.  We look forward to a fast and favorable decision on today’s legal action.

KS Redistricting Petition – FINAL_4510069
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