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Kan. officials sort through new district lines

Published on -6/12/2012, 2:33 PM

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WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- State and local officials say it may take some time for the dust to settle after a federal panel redrew the Kansas political boundaries.

The Wichita Eagle reports http://bit.ly/KZKRd7 that election officials expect it to be a few weeks before voters will know for certain which district they are in and who will be on the ballot.

A three-judge panel issued new maps late Thursday for the state House, Senate, Board of Education and four U.S. House seats. Candidates had until noon Monday to file for the new districts, with the primary set for Aug. 7.

The maps needed to be redrawn to account for population shifts over the last decade, but a bitter feud among Republicans blocked lawmakers' proposals during the 99-day legislative session, so a lawsuit was filed that forced the judges to step in.

In their 206-page order, the judges acknowledged they were "pushing a re-set button" for legislative districts and imposing dramatically different boundaries. They created four open Senate seats and 25 open House seats, while pairing up dozens of other legislators in districts that now have two incumbents each. Two House districts even have three incumbents each.

In Wichita, Sedgwick County's election staff hopes to have cards out to residents within a few weeks to notify them of their new boundaries. Some voters could face multiple changes.

"We're not required to send out notices," Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman said. "But I can't imagine how anyone who has changes would know what they are if we don't. Anyone who experiences any changes, we'll send them a card with new district information."

She said more than 265,000 registered voters likely could receive a card notifying them of changes.

"Our first pass through indicates there will be over 800 district changes within the precincts," she said.

The secretary of state's office will collect all of the changes for its website that allows voters to enter their address and get information about their districts, spokeswoman Kay Curtis said. It could be several weeks before the website is completely up to date, Curtis said.

"We may disable it in the meantime since it would be confusing to folks checking that," Curtis said. "The counties have a lot of work to reshuffle things at their level."

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Online:

Kansas voter information: https://myvoteinfo.voteks.org

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Information from: The Wichita Eagle, http://www.kansas.com

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