Voter Rights Network of Wyandotte County is committed to advocacy on voter rights issues. These may include but are not limited to:
- Voter Suppression
- Public Education
- Racial Justice
- Civil and Human Rights
We engage in advocacy to ensure justice, equitable treatment, and the rights of people of color and other disenfranchised groups. Our commitment is to engage marginalized communities in advocacy and the legislative process on key issues. We achieve our mission through education, awareness, and updates on legislative bills, advocacy strategies, guidance on writing and delivering testimony, redistricting map creation, and by promoting interactions and direct communication with legislators.
We partner with other local, regional, and statewide organizations to provide informational and training seminars to achieve our goals.
Effects of Redistricting
Currently, one of our primary engagements is the redistricting process. Why? Redistricting impacts every issue we care about and how the representatives that we elect to act on those issues. Redistricting affects all our rights, services, benefits, and policies; every aspect of our personal well-being and welfare is embedded in our laws. So if you think redistricting is not your concern, think again. It concerns all of us. Redrawing our voting district boundaries can determine our elected representatives to Congress, state Senate and House, and state and local school boards.
Issues that redistricting can impact include:
What are children are taught; Critical Race Theory, current bans on books, private school vouchers, posting of curricula, teaching tools and methods, teacher micromanagement, punishment for teachers who violate these laws; community college tuition
Voter suppression, advanced ballot drop boxes, advanced voting sites, reduced timeframes for mailed ballots, purged voter rolls, federal voting rights legislation
Medicaid Expansion, prescription drug costs, insulin costs, Medicare
Minimum wage, unemployment benefits, local, regional, and national services (streets/highways, transportation, infrastructure, internet access) local government control
Families and Family Members
Earned income tax credit, child tax credit, family leave, stimulus payments, child care, Social Security, nursing facility and home healthcare for seniors, senior services like meals on wheels
What Happened in Kansas
After much public testimony speaking out for communities to stay together and opposing the Congressional maps drawn by the legislature, the KS Senate and House voted to approve the gerrymandered AdAstra map SB 355, which splits Wyandotte County north and south at I-70, putting those residents north of I-70 in the 2nd Congressional District, while people south of I-70 stay in the 3rd. This map significantly dilutes the voices and votes of people of color in Wyandotte County.
The bill was vetoed by Governor Laura Kelly, but received enough votes in the Senate and House to override her veto into law. The partisan and minority-vote-undermining action prompted lawsuits, which have been filed by two legal groups. The law lies in the hands of Kansas district court. The filings have been recently challenged by KS Attorney General Derek Schmidt, who is asking
the court to dismiss the cases and send them up to the Supreme Court for the final decision.
Where We are Now
We’re waiting for the court to rule on the Congressional maps.
Meanwhile, the KS legislature is drawing state Senate and House maps, which should be introduced any day.
We will be marshaling our forces to again advocate for fair maps, ones that keep our communities whole and our voting power intact. Won’t you join us?
We welcome your input and participation and hope you will unite with us in our efforts.
Share Your Testimony at the Next Public Hearing!
Voters living within specific district map boundaries are empowered to elect representatives that will make decisions that benefit the communities they serve. When these boundaries are redrawn, it can move voters into another district with a different elected official who does not represent those voters’ interests. Share with legislators why it is vitally important to keep the Wyandotte County map intact and protect the voting rights of its diverse community.
You can help!
By using your voice, you can share how the district map should be redrawn and why!
The current census numbers have increased in both Wyandotte and Johnson Counties, population segments must be removed from the 3rd district.
Each of the four districts in Kansas has to have a specific number of people, 734,470.
That means the district lines have to be changed because the U.S. Constitution says that a district can’t have more than a certain number of people. Therefore, the lines of that more populated district have to change or be redrawn to even out the numbers again. To do that, people must be shifted to another district with fewer people.
In District 3, our district, both Wyandotte and Johnson Counties are over that number based on the recent census. The district lines must be redrawn to remove a specified amount of the population from our district.