KY Democratic Party Brings Lawsuit Against State House & Congressional Maps

As state Republican lawmakers override vetoes to the state House and U.S. Congressional maps the Kentucky Democratic Party and several citizens have filed a lawsuit to halt the redistricting plans.

The suit is brought from citizens in Franklin County who call into question district lines in the Congressional plan that stretch the 1st District from West Kentucky into Franklin County, hundreds of miles away.

“These maps were drawn behind closed doors with no public input to silence the voices of hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians,” said KDP Chair Colmon Elridge. “We are joining residents who are disenfranchised by these gerrymandered districts to stop this partisan power grab. These maps intentionally slice up cities and counties, reduce the number of women serving in the House and dilute the voices of minority communities.”

The Kentucky Democratic Party, Democratic Caucus Chair Rep. Derrick Graham and Jill Robinson, Mary Lynn Collins, Katima Smith-Willis and Joseph Smith, Franklin County citizens concerned about their community filed the lawsuit in Franklin County to have the maps declared unconstitutional and invalid.

In a news release, the Kentucky Democratic Party says the maps violate, “sections 1, 2, 3, and 6 of the Kentucky Constitution by “arbitrarily denying the citizens of the Commonwealth the rights to a free and equal election, free expression, and free association.” The KDP also claims Republican supermajorities violated Section 33 of the Kentucky Constitution “by excessively and unnecessarily splitting counties into multiple districts without legitimate purpose, and impermissibly attaching portions of split counties to others more times than is necessary to achieve districts of roughly equal size.”

From the lawsuit:

Absurd Congressional District 1
“District 1 is patently irregular, snaking all the way from the westernmost tip of the state up to Franklin County. To illustrate the geographical absurdity of District 1: if one chose to drive the full length of District 1, staying entirely within District 1, it would require driving approximately 370 miles and would take approximately 6 hours and 45 minutes. Even driving from Franklin to Fulton County traveling through the 2nd district would require almost 4 hours and 30 minutes.”

Republicans drew the district so Congressman Jamie Comer would actually finally live in the Western Kentucky district he has represented for years. 

Excessive Splitting
“The counties which are excessively split by HB 2 are Fayette (8 splits instead of 7 required), Boone (5 splits instead of 3 required), Hardin (4 splits instead of 2-3 required), Campbell (2 splits instead of 1 required), Madison (3 splits instead of 2 required), Bullitt (2 splits instead of 1 required), Christian (2 splits instead of 1 required), McCracken (3 splits instead of 1-2 required), Oldham (2 splits instead of 1 required), Pulaski (4 splits instead of 1 required), Laurel (5 splits instead of 1-3 required), Pike (3 splits instead of 1 required), and Jessamine (3 splits instead of 1 required). A range of required splits is provided for some counties because changes to the district splits in one county have a spillover effect into other counties.”