Looming midterm elections have states grappling over redistricting maps

Karl Rove on redistricting: ‘It is part of the political process’

Fox News contributor Karl Rove addresses how each state uses redistricting and the impact it has on elections

With midterm elections looming later this year, states are grappling over revisions to their election maps. 

Here’s a look at some recent developments across the U.S.:

Kansas: GOP’s map vetoed

In Kansas, Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly on Thursday vetoed Republicans’ congressional map that would have made it more difficult for the state’s only Democratic U.S. House member, Rep. Sharice Davids, to get re-elected. 

“The process of drawing districts each decade is the core to ensuring that all Kansans have the opportunity to participate in their government and have their voices heard,” the governor said, according to FOX 4 in Kansas City. “The courts and the Legislature have established case law and criteria on how to draw Kansas districts fairly and constitutionally.”

Kansas state Reps. Brenda Landwehr, left, R-Wichita, and Steve Huebert, R-Valley Center, confer during a meeting of a House committee on redistricting at the Statehouse in Topeka, Jan. 18, 2022.
(Associated Press)

She said the map would dilute minority communities’ voting strength and called for compromise. 

“Without explanation, this map shifts 46% of the Black population and 33% of the Hispanic population out of the 3rd Congressional District by dividing the Hispanic neighborhoods of Quindaro Bluffs, Bethel-Welborn, Strawberry Hill, Armourdale and others from Argentine, Turner and the rest of Kansas City, Kansas south of I-70,” she said.

Republicans said they will try to override Kelly’s veto with a two-thirds majority, according to the station. 

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, gives a speech on Sept. 17, 2019. 
(Getty Images)

The map passed the House last month by a vote of 79-37 and the Senate 26-9, according to the Washington Examiner. 

State Republicans in a statement called the map “politically fair,” noting the current representatives would still have won their seats if the map had been in place in 2020. 

“The map is reflective of the testimony we received from the public, has zero deviation between Congressional districts, creates compact and contiguous districts, preserves existing district cores, and groups together communities of interest.” 

Michigan: Lawsuit dismissed

Meanwhile, in Michigan, the state’s Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit claiming its new redistricting maps unfairly disenfranchise Black voters in a 4-3 vote. 

Black voters had a majority of voters in 15 districts under the old map (two in the U.S. House, two in the state Senate and 11 in the state House), which was reduced to seven with the new map created by an independent redistricting commission. 

Michigan voters fill out their ballots at a school gymnasium on Nov. 03, 2020, in Lansing.
(Getty Images)

The majority justices said having Black voters spread out in more districts would give them more of a voice and the dissenting justices called the dismissal “premature” and “unjust,” saying an expert should have weighed in on the issue. 

Republicans have also challenged the U.S. House map in the state in court, claiming it overly splits municipal boundaries. 

New York: GOP districts threatened

In New York on Thursday, Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul approved a new map that could wipe out up to four Republican districts in the state.

Congressional elections expert and Cook Political Report journalist Dave Wasserman said the map “could lead to the single biggest seat shift in the country.”

Gov. Kathy Hochul, D-N.Y., at a meeting with the National Governors Association in the East Room of the White House, Monday, Jan. 31, 2022, in Washington. 
(Associated Press)

The state Senate voted 43-20 on party lines to pass the congressional maps and is passed mostly along party lines in the Assembly 103-45.

“Democrats are circumventing the will of the people,” New York GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy said in a statement Wednesday. “They can’t win on the merits so they’re trying to win the election in a smoke-filled room rather than the ballot box.” 

The new state maps will be in place for the next decade and are a result of last year’s Census, an official U.S. population count taken every 10 years. 

As a result, New York lost a congressional seat because of population decline. Other states have lost or gained districts based on the Census’ findings. 

Fox News’ Andrew Mark Miller and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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