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Kansas voters have an important constitutional amendment question to answer that will impact your representation in Topeka!
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My Two Cents of Common Sense
"Northwest Kansas holds some truly inspiring scenery, contains a wealth of Old West history, possesses some of the finest educational institutions, promotes an entrepreneurial spirit, and is home to some of the most hard-working, genuine people I've ever met!"    ~ Adam Smith
1970 RD 3 Weskan, KS 67762
785-821-2568 (Cell)
300 SW 10th St, Suite 512N Topeka, KS  66612
785-296-0715 (Office)
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A popular credit card advertisement uses the tag line "What's in your wallet?" While I don't have a Hollywood celebrity to deliver my message, I do have a similar question… "What's on your ballot?"
 
Kansas has an important vote coming up this November, and it doesn't have anything to do with any candidate for office. You probably haven't heard much about it, but the result could significantly impact rural Kansas! This has motivated me to provide Kansans with some facts behind the topic and how it could affect our state.
 
When you vote in this year's general election, be prepared to answer a question that will change our Kansas Constitution. The question will ask to remove the current requirement for adjusting the Federal Census data.
 
In a nutshell, the decennial census counts everyone where they live at the time of the census.  This includes those who may be at that location only temporarily, such as college students or military personnel. The required adjustment, added to the Kansas Constitution by the people in 1988, is performed by the Kansas Secretary of State (KSOS) which contacts all of these temporary residents to determine their permanent residence.
 
Why was this adopted in the first place?
 

The adjustment attempts to count residents of Kansas in the location they consider their permanent home, and subsequently where they are - or would likely be - registered to vote. The results of the adjusted census are used to draw the boundaries for legislative and state board of education districts, which must be created with relatively equal populations per district.
 
What exactly happens as a result of the adjustment?
 
Analyzing the data from the 2010 Census Adjustment Report*, the discussion really comes down to college institutions; Fort Leavenworth, Fort Riley, and McConnell AFB make up merely 940 of the 42,113 adjusted population. However, looking the counties WITH military or educational institutions, almost 80% of the adjustment comes from Riley and Douglas counties – Kansas State University and Kansas University. The discussion really comes down to college institutions; Fort Leavenworth, Fort Riley, and McConnell AFB make up merely 940 of the 42,113 adjusted population.
 
If the ballot question passes and the adjustment requirement is removed from the Kansas Constitution, many Kansas counties without a college institution will lose 2-5% of their official population. Nearly 80% of the adjustment gains come from Riley and Douglas counties – Kansas State University and Kansas University, which would gain approximately 23,000 residents. These two counties would effectively gain an entire seat in the House of Representatives, and about two-fifths of a Senate seat. Other counties with colleges would see an increase, as well.

Below are two graphics from the 2010 Census Adjustment report, showing the net gain or loss as a result of the adjustment. Removing the adjustment could likely reverse this map.
 
Eastern Kansas
Western Kansas
 
Why is the adjustment removal being proposed?
 
The reason for wanting to remove the adjustment can probably be boiled down to two things – time and money. No doubt the entire department looks forward to this process like they would multiple root canals, but is it still important enough to continue?
 
Let's look at some facts.
 
Yes, the adjustment certainly takes time and money. In 2010, nearly 120,000 individuals out of our state population of 3 million needed clarification on their permanent residency. Over 70,000 of those did not need adjusted – in other words they opted to have their permanent residence recorded where they were counted. (Many military fall into this category.) More than 42,000 required an adjustment for their permanent home, and about 6,000 had unresolved phone/address problems and could not be contacted.
 
Information from the KSOS claims the adjustment only impacted 13,000 people. I assume that number comes from the 2010 report that subtracted 13,836 people completely – meaning they stated their permanent residence was somewhere outside the state of Kansas. (Most of which were college students.) Subtract that number from the total adjusted, and there were over 28,000 residents of Kansas directly affected by the adjustment.
 
Last February, the KSOS estimated the cost of the adjustment to be approximately $834,000. However, the 2010 total project cost was under $200,000 and that included the salary of existing staff that worked on the project, which accounted for $77,731 of the total reported cost. This expense also occurs only once every 10 years.
 
Is that enough people to matter? Is the monetary savings worth it?
 
That's the exact question each of us must decide before we vote this November!
 
Some proponents claim the adjustment is antiquated, but I would say it is more about accuracy in your representation in the Capitol. If you feel that removing the adjustment and counting students where they attend college is an accurate representation of the state, you should vote in favor. If you feel college students should be counted at the place they consider their permanent residence, you should vote no on your ballot.
 
*The full 2010 Census Adjustment Report can be found online at: http://www.sos.ks.gov/forms/elections/2010CensusAdj.pdf
 
I strive to create and maintain constituent relationships through good communication. Two-way communication is essential to my effectiveness as a legislator in promoting successful solutions for Northwest Kansas! Please consider subscribing to my contact list or send me an email and I will add you.
Copyright © 2019 Smith For Kansas, All rights reserved.


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