Redistricting 2022 – The League

Episode 0107-02 January 08, 2022 00:23:15
Redistricting 2022 – The League
Moving Kentucky Forward
Redistricting 2022 – The League
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Show Notes

We talk with Dee Pregliasco of the KY League of Women Voters, to hear what the League finds wrong with both the maps as drawn and with the redistricting process itself.

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:00 Hello, and welcome to moving Kentucky forward. I'm Bruce Maples publisher forward Kentucky. This is the second of three podcasts that we recorded on Friday, January the seventh about redistricting. The first one was with Robert Connie, a data scientist, and the maps that he was able to figure out from the date of the Republicans did release so that we could figure out precinct placement and, and analysis. This podcast is with the pregnant Jasko, who is with the league of women, voters of Kentucky. And it's about what the league's position is on the maps as they've been, uh, delivered and what the league is going to do going forward. Hope you'll listen to this one and the next one. Thanks. So I'm here with Dee of the Kentucky league of women voters. And we're going to talk quickly about redistricting, which she has been talking with people about for months and certainly over the last week, uh, D welcome to move in Kentucky forward. Speaker 1 00:01:01 Thank you. Thanks for having me. Speaker 0 00:01:03 So the maps had finally dropped or at least sort of dropped. Uh, we don't really have good precinct information, but at least we have pictures to look at. And as we all know, the Republican led legislature is rushing to get them through as fast as they can even perhaps, uh, coming in tomorrow in the middle of the snow to, uh, finish them, finish moving them through. So I know that the league of women voters did some maps has been pushing for more transparency and a slower process. So let's cut right to the chase. Uh, you've seen the maps as they've been dropped. Uh, is there anything good to say about them first and then we'll talk about anything bad. Speaker 1 00:01:51 Okay. Well, there are two parts of this. Of course, there's the house, which the good thing was at least a little bit of good. They issued theirs last Thursday, but of course that was right before the holiday weekend, right? So we, we did compliment them on that and they seemed overall to be a little more compact, but there were still a lot of issues, uh, particularly with cities and counties. You know, there, there are places in Kentucky besides Louisville and Lexington, uh, where there are significant cities, whether they're films, borough, bowling, green, Hopkinsville, Pikeville, uh, and of course, up in Northern Kentucky. Um, so again, they were a little little early, but we've been pushing for them to make this an open process for, well, actually we've been working on it since 2017 by pushed the, an open process since the legislature met in 2020. Speaker 1 00:02:45 And then of course, again, uh, 2021, and now here it is, uh, 2022, the Senate did not drop their maps until Tuesday, both houses said, and they are on target doing what they said they were going to do. We're going to vote on these and have these passed by tomorrow Saturday. Okay. I guess tomorrow is the eighth. Um, so what's happened. Have we been able to, you know, look at them? Well, we have the, we have them now, uh, the Senate maps didn't come out until Tuesday. You actually can go to our website, L w V K y.org, and look at what we produced and look at what they have produced. You can also go on, um, and find out through, uh, the, the website of Robert Kahn. I think it's K H N E. You might be familiar with him. He's a data expert that has a good reputation, and you can get down into the weeds of the precincts. Speaker 1 00:03:47 Um, and we, there should be a link on, um, I'm not the website person. There should be a link even on our website that you can get to those. And we actually have, I have a league member in bowling green. Who's very good at that. He's been working on that and that should be out also. So we issued a statement Sunday about the house and what we have, what we liked and what we objected to. We issued a statement about the Senate maps, which went out, uh, yesterday we testified Wednesday before the house committee. They did let us testify virtually the Senate would not let us testify virtually, uh, even though COVID is obviously a huge issue. And so we only were able to submit our statement. Um, so you mentioned transparency. I mean, let's face it, there are two really critical things. Well, actually there are a lot of critical things about this. Speaker 1 00:04:42 It should have been transparent. Uh, we issued maps last year, uh, based on the 2010 census. We issued maps this year in September, based upon the early numbers that came, came out. And then after we had eight public forums, we issued re drafted maps based upon the input that we got from people all over the state. And of course, we've done over the last few years, we've done over a hundred presentations on, uh, the maps, fair maps, you know, educating people, talking to them about this. So obviously they could have done that. The legislature could have done that. They chose not to do it. And, you know, I want to try to not be so cynical about all of these things. Um, but I thought it was interesting sentence cybers when he testified before the committee on Wednesday was very proud to say, we did not do anything that would hurt any incumbents. Speaker 1 00:05:42 Well, let's face it. That's, that's the elephant in the room, the incumbents, we did our maps all the times. We did our maps. We didn't pay attention to incumbents because the voters should choose the legislators. In other words, elected officials, they shouldn't choose us, but what they have done is obviously is choose us. So, um, we're trying to still keep analyzing all of this, uh, you know, the fact that they would push all of this through, uh, in these five days is not acceptable at all. I mean, it's hard work. Uh, they've said that we agree it's hard work to do this. So to think that the public can have the time to, you know, sort of analyze these, sort of understand them and make comments. That's not going to happen in a week in January where, you know, not only do we have COVID and now we have snow, they've pushed the filing deadline to the 25th. Speaker 1 00:06:39 There's no reason we couldn't have the next several weeks or for that matter months. I mean, they couldn't even push the filing deadline later to let the public look at these and see what's happening. Now, when you look at them, you know, just sort of bear looking at them, you know, you're not quite sure you need to dig into just like you said, the precinct, Graebel the one map that you can look at and say, oh my gosh, gerrymandering is rearing. Its ugly head is the congressional map. The fact that they would draw a map. And I know you've seen that, that goes all the way from the Mississippi river, all the way up to Franklin county, which is in north central Kentucky is, I mean, it makes no sense since. And the fact that they could produce that map and, and not, I mean, it's, it's just laughable. Speaker 1 00:07:31 It's just absolutely laughable. And then of course the other big thing is this last for 10 years, you know, we, it's not like we can change this right away. I mean, there could be lawsuits. I have no idea. People ask us all the time, are there going to be lawsuits? I don't know. You know, we don't have the structure to file a lawsuit. Um, and I'm sure there are people that are looking at it all over the state, as well as national groups. I know you've had the Brennan center on a year before the ACLU, the, uh, you know, the Princeton gerrymandering project, there are all kinds of groups and this is a voting issue. Speaker 0 00:08:03 Let me, let me raise a couple of questions. Let's, let's start with one that I just thought about, or actually heard about this morning, which is a lot of people were saying they need to slow down and yet one person pointed out. And I think it's an interesting point that, that perhaps the message should not be slowed down. It should be stopped. This person pointed out that the last time this was done, the 2010 census, we didn't pass or excuse me, the legislature did not pass redrawn maps until 2013, right? There's nothing that says they have to do them this year. There's nothing that says they have to do them and have them affect this election. So this person was saying, we should tell them to stop completely and let the public weigh in and make these applicable to next year and redo the process and so on and so forth. What do you think about that? Speaker 1 00:09:01 Well, I like the idea. I'm glad somebody talked about that with the stop. I will tell you what, I think there's some legal considerations in regards to putting it off to next year because all of the election, because we have all these elections this fall, we have all the judges have to run. Um, you know, although the representatives have to run and then senators are, are running. So I think there's some issues there. The reason it was put off to 2013, the last time was because the Republicans were in charge of the house. Uh, I mean, excuse me, the Senate after 2012 and, and the Democrats were in charge of the house, but there were lawsuits that were filed. And so the lawsuit wasn't settled by the Supreme court of Kentucky until 2012. And so they didn't get them to the redistricting until 2013. So I think there's some legal considerations there that I don't want to say for sure that that's the best way to do it, but they certainly could stop. Speaker 1 00:10:04 And, you know, they could even do this. Like I said, they can move the filing deadline way before the primary, uh, to let people know. But again, if you draw, you know, if you draw a reasonable maps that make sense and have public input, and if they'd done this the last two years, regardless of the fact that the census numbers didn't come out, you know, they could have had hearings last year to say to people, okay, this is what the current map is. What's the problem with the current map, regardless of the fact that we know the population move to the and the ISME five corridor is connected by the I 64 corridor, they still could have gotten public input last year. And then even after the new numbers came out, they could have gotten public input, but, you know, but they, but they didn't, they weren't, they really weren't interested in that. Speaker 1 00:10:56 I mean, we talked to, uh, people, we only talked to one person in the Senate, Julian, Rocky Adams, we could never get any kind of, of, uh, willingness to talk to us from the other leadership Stibers are there. I did speak to therre once when I testified in, uh, July and he, uh, in his way, and, you know, Damon Thayer was well the constitution and allows us to do the redistricting. We know that we, we were just supporting an advisory commission to, you know, to help them, you know, we weren't trying to take it away from the only way to take it away from them would be to have a constitutional amendment, which of course, you know, takes that's a big, heavy lift, a big heavy lift. And then he said, my constituents have elected me to do, you know, to do the redistricting where, you know, he represents not only the people who voted for him, but all the other in his district. Speaker 1 00:11:54 Right. And, and I keep pointing that out to people I say, but you, and, you know, bless your heart, Senator Southworth, Senator self. We, I listened to her on Wednesday. She said, we represent all the people of Kentucky, not just, you know, the constituents of our particular, uh, district. Uh, so I think there's some, there may be some legal issues in regards to the stop completely in regards to the elections that are scheduled for the fall, because the constitution provides that the representatives have to run, you know, every two years, like I said, all of the judges are running though. I think there's, there's less in any kind of problem with the judicial districts, uh, for sure. Uh, I know, uh, apparently, uh, what the Senate did or what the house did about the judicial districts, um, uh, justice mint and had some comments. And I don't know where I, I, I haven't found out today where that, you know, where that stands, but I like the idea of, Speaker 0 00:12:53 Is there anything in our state constitution that says, it says that the legislature has to redraw the districts based on the census. I understand that, but is there anything that says it has to be done within a certain timeframe? Speaker 1 00:13:06 I'm not aware of that. Um, and again, I think because lawsuits have been filed in the past, I mean, there've been there, like the last lawsuit was named Fisher. There've been four Fisher lawsuits in Kentucky, as well as going back to the thirties and back in 1907. So there's been a lot of lawsuits filed over this issue. And I think they even went one period more than 10 years before they ever redrew, uh, the districts. Speaker 0 00:13:31 The other thing that's that was raised in another meeting this morning was this concept that they keep talking about that the maps as drawn meet all legal requirements. And this person said without having precinct level analysis of impact on groups of concern, we don't know if they meet all legal requirements. And this person also pointed out that in addition to the voting rights act and other things like that, the Kentucky constitution calls for a free and fair election. And there was a case in, I think, Pennsylvania, where they overturned the maps, because they proved that the maps as drawn did not provide for a free and fair election just on that phrase, right. This person said, uh, absolutely we can, you know, talk about that in Kentucky, that these maps are not equitable and that they do not provide for free and fair election. Any thought about that from from you? Speaker 1 00:14:40 Yes. You're really writing it's until you really understand the precincts. And let me sort of digress a second. Um, when they presented the house maps, representative Miller talked to, uh, and representative Osbourne said, oh, and you know, we followed the precincts, uh, because, um, that's local officials decide the precincts. Well, you and I know that precincts change all the time. They redraw those lines, you know, all the times they're not set so set in stone and they have to do it because of population, uh, issues and because of redistricting, uh, also, so you're right without the precinct information, which I think we are on to being able to provide that and get to that. But again, what's the timeframe, you know, if they're going to vote on this tomorrow, you know, it's hard to say, well, but look. So for example, the voting rights act issues involving the minority districts, communities of interest, so they can elect, um, who they want. Speaker 1 00:15:41 So the house brag that they, they created for, uh, and then our maps, we only had three and they accused us of not following the voting rights act well, besides the voting rights extras, there are a lot of Supreme court cases that deal with the issue, not just a pure population, but a voter population. You know, it doesn't matter that this district has these many people. If it doesn't have any voters, for example, where there's a prison, you know, cause they don't let those people vote risen. Then, then you have to look at the voting age population. So we don't believe we violated that at all. But again, to get down to the precincts, Sears is a perfect example. We know that in pudding, um, for example, McKinsey can trail and Lisa Wilner in the same house district, they were in separate districts by putting him in the same districts. Speaker 1 00:16:32 One of the things that representative neem talked about is, you know, we don't, you know, we, we don't want to divide communities. And if there, if there's an automatic dividing line, we, you know, we, we, we honor that and he talked about Southern Parkway. And if you know anything about global Southern Parkway can or can not be a dividing line. What's interesting is though McKinsey Cantrell lives on the far Western side of this district, they created and Lisa Willner lives on the far Eastern side of this district. Well guess what? At least it's a Wilner lives on the east side of I 65. If there ever is a dividing line of communities, it's going to be I 65, I can see Cantrell by being the far west of that district is on the far west side of . So again, without looking at the precincts, you know, it's hard, you're right. Speaker 1 00:17:20 You can't tell and you're right. There was the Pennsylvania case Pence, the Pennsylvania Supreme court said, look, you violated this. So yeah, you've got the equal protection issues as well as the voting rights, as well as the Kentucky constitution. And let's face it again, just like you said, without the precincts, it's hard to tell and we don't have any time to tell, you know, it's not even like the people in those districts are in Hopkinsville or Pikeville or Laurel county, Northern Kentucky, Northern Kentucky has a lot of issues. Bowling green, bowling green on this under the Senate district used to have their own Senator. Um, as our Warren county had its own Senator and now they've divided it up. We know that creates division of which protects the certain parties. And yes, Democrats have done gerrymandering in the past. And what we've said to Republicans this time when we met with them all the last two years, be the good guys, be good government people invite the people to have a comment and then do it. And then you really would have a bi-partisan redistricting plan, which they don't have. So, Speaker 0 00:18:29 So here's my last question, uh, or, or my next to last question, uh, is the league going to do any sort of lists of all the issues they see with the maps? I've seen your statements. We published both of them, I think, uh, which listed some sort of high level, uh, issues, but you've mentioned, you've mentioned a number of like the, the Wilner can trail thing and so on and so forth. Is the league going to do a really good bullet list of issues they see? Speaker 1 00:19:00 Well, I tell you what, again, we have somebody who's working on all of the maps down to the precinct level for us to try to have a better sense of that. One of the things that's interesting is that they've added Nina Kulkarni in a local district as a district of opportunity. Um, I obviously she's not an African-American, she's our only, you know, Indian American, um, ma rub the general assembly again, because let me tell you what one person say one person said they sort of moved the districts in Jefferson county instead of north and south had they moved them Eastern west to try to make it look like, oh, they weren't aren't gerrymandered. And I will tell you, they were gerrymandered by the Democrats the last time. There's just, we can't get around that Jefferson county was gerrymandered to protect the Democrats in the last time. Speaker 1 00:19:52 So done some optic things to try to make us think, if you just look at it, you say, well, that looks okay. Um, you know, unlike the, uh, unlike the, the congressional map, which you look at it and you obviously know it's been gerrymandered. Um, so you're right. We, we, we just need to get down into those weeds and literally it, that takes some time and we are working on it now. Um, we, you know, we haven't analyzed Jefferson county down to the minute precinct yet. I mean, that's, that takes a lot of time and effort. We do have people working on, um, uh, places around the state representative Wheatley talked about his, uh, district up in Northern Kentucky and Covington, you know, it's been the same district for a hundred years. So just keep looking at where we may put out some more statements, but the most that we've got out are our statements and what we have put out on the, uh, on our website. And then, um, I'm pretty sure we're going to have another one that, that comes out today. Uh, but it just may be a link to how you can do your own deep dive into this. Speaker 0 00:20:58 The last question, if, uh, somebody else, another organization or a group of organizations, or even an individual, uh, files the lawsuit to overturn the maps, to stop the process, to do anything like that, will the league join in that effort in some way? Speaker 1 00:21:17 Well, I, you know, I really can't say yes or no. Um, we joined last year in the lawsuit involving the vote, you know, the voting issues we joined with, uh, the NAACP and the ACLU and the urban league last year. But, you know, that's gonna take some really good conversations. And then what, what have they been able to show are the issues? And do we think those are strong enough that we want to attach our name to it. And, and we're also bound by, um, and work with a national, uh, the national league. And they have, you know, we have a consultants there and, and lawyers there that help us work this out, even though I'm a lawyer, this is not my, what, you know, it wasn't my specialty. Um, but certainly if there's some constitutional issues and some really egregious things that we feel like are really important, then, then we could join. But right now, you know, we don't know. And of course, here's the thing. Once they pass these bills, if they do this tomorrow, they still have to go to the governor. The governor can say yes, or, you know, or you can be told them, and then they have to come back and vote them on a boat on them again. So it's not until all of that would happen, that it would be time for a lawsuit to be filed anyway. Okay. Speaker 0 00:22:33 The pregnancy Oscoe, uh, the league of women voters. Thank you so much for your time. Uh, this is obviously a hot topic and we may call you again. Speaker 1 00:22:41 All right. Thank you for having me. Speaker 0 00:22:43 That was the pregnant ASCO of the Kentucky league of women voters talking about the league's work on fair maps over the past two years, their ongoing efforts to get the Republicans who were going to draw the maps to work with them and to listen to them and their feelings about the mats that actually did come out and what they see is wrong with them. This is the second of three podcasts that we are posting tonight on redistricting. Uh, we have one more with Ben Carter and I hope you will listen to it as well. Thanks for listening.

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