At packed Johnson County redistricting forum, residents raise concerns about transparency, gerrymandering

An estimated 250 people turned out Thursday afternoon at Matt Ross Community Center in Overland Park for a public listening session hosted by Kansas lawmakers about the upcoming process to redraw state legislative and Congressional district boundaries. Jana Malkovich, a member of the League of Women Voters of Johnson County, addresses lawmakers, asking them to ensure the redistricting process is fair and equal. Photo credit Nikki Lansford.

Dozens of Johnson County residents spoke at a packed town hall Thursday in Overland Park aimed at gathering public input ahead of the process to redraw state legislative and Congressional district boundaries in Kansas.

Many of the roughly 50 speakers on Thursday expressed their exasperation with the schedule for the public meetings — 14 town halls in one week, nearly all during business hours on weekdays.

Speakers also repeatedly raised their concerns that the Republican-dominated legislature would end up drawing gerrymandered districts to favor their party, potentially carving up Johnson and Wyandotte counties in order to make it harder for Democratic Rep. Sharice Davids to win reelection.