67th District may see changes but not 66th

By The Mercury

The new 66th District House map may look a lot like the current 66th District House map.

It turns out that the map filed by members of the House redistricting committee Monday night leaves the proposed new 66th District unchanged from its configuration since 2002. The district is represented by Democrat Sydney Carlin, and generally includes the north and eastern portions of Manhattan.

The proposed new 67th District is a different story. That district, which since 2002 has generally consisted of the south and west portions of Manhattan as well as some rural areas, loses several of those rural areas in the proposed new map. In particular, three townships are lopped from the 67th District: Zeandale Township goes to State Rep. Richard Carlson’s 61st District, while both Grant and Wildcat Townships are shifted into the 106th District, presently represented by Republican Sharon Schwartz.

If that map is adopted, Schwartz’s district would extend south west of the city as far as the intersection of Scenic Drive and Anderson Avenue.

The unchanged nature of Carlin’s district was considered a surprise because of its size. Even adjusting Kansas State University students out from the count, the proposed 66th District has 23,838 residents, 1,122 (4.9 percent) more than the 22,716 figure considered ideal. Given that lawmakers permitted themselves a 5.0 percent fudge factor in drawing districts, it is right on the cusp of unacceptability, and in fact would be unacceptable by the lawmakers’ standards if it contained 15 more residents.

Carlin said she expects this district to remain fairly well intact. She has seen several proposed drafts and they all reflect the current proposed district.

Generally the district is bounded by Poyntz Avenue from Third Street west to Sunset, then north to Anderson, then west to Seth Child, then north to Dickens, then east to Browning, then north to Kimball, then north to Seth Child, then east along the north edge of Ward 5, Precinct 11, to College, then north to Purcell, then east to Tuttle Creek Boulevard, then north to K-13, then east to the county line, then south to Leavenworth, then west to Third Street, then south to Poyntz. It appears to be identical to the current 66th District.

The proposed new 67th District, which will be represented by Tome Phillips when he is sworn in to replace Susan Mosier, has 23,499 residents, 783 (3.4 percent) more than ideal. It includes those parts of the city not in the 66th District as well as Manhattan Township 1, Manhattan Township 2, Ashland and Ogden. Partially offsetting the losses of the rural townships, it picks up the portion of Fort Riley that is nearest Ogden.

Like college students, soldiers are normally excluded from the legislative redistricting process. But they were not excluded this year because the Department of Defense chose not to encourage soldiers to participate in the adjustment process, and few did. As a result, the counts in districts with territory on Fort Riley, principally the 61st legislative district, are substantially higher than they were in previous redistrictings, something that forced lawmakers to disperse the post’s population into several area districts.

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