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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)
The election night map showed a significant portion of Kansas blanketed in red and only some of the the highly populated counties showing blue.
A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words 

It's not always black and white... or in this case, red and blue.

The first look at the above map from the Secretary of State's website after the initial election results were complete may leave some Kansans feeling like their voice doesn't matter.

At the second glance, we quickly realize the blue counties are some of the highest populated counties in Kansas. It doesn't take very many urban counties to equal the same population as the rest of the state.

It's a trend that is not new and not unique to the state of Kansas. The 2016 Presidential election map showed how the red and blue areas seemed disproportionate with regard to the geographic area.
2016 Presidential race by Geographic Area
And that map looked different than the Electoral College cartogram map, which showed each state in proportionate size to its electoral votes.

2016 Presidential race by Electoral College votes

You may be wondering why am I writing about the 2016 election... 

It is because the first thing running through my mind looking at the 2018 Governor's race map is that Kansas does NOT HAVE an electoral college where each county is either completely red or blue based on who "wins" that county. A map with shades of purple would more accurately show how the residents of that particular county actually voted.

I was intrigued to see what that would look like, so I compiled a list of the election night results and put them into a spreadsheet, then measured the ratio between the Republican and Democrat candidates (My apologies to the Libertarian and independent candidates - I was just curious about the red/blue results). Then, using my incredibly basic and unrefined graphic design skills, I created the shades of "purple" according to those ratios to come up with the map below.

The result tells an interesting story of "in the middle". Yes, there were still the extremes... Douglas and Wyandotte counties voted blue by about a 2.5:1 ratio, while Wallace and Wichita counties voted red by 4:1 ratio. But there were about 20 counties that hovered right around that 50/50 split. Three of those "purple" counties were slightly won by the Democrat, and seventeen were slightly won by the Republican.

Well, this was all interesting, but I also had another question. Earlier I talked about the western counties of Wallace and Wichita and the eastern counties of Douglas and Wyandotte... according to the geographic map it sure looks like the western counties would out-weigh their eastern counterparts, right?

Ha... only if cows and corn could vote.

The actual red/blue (initial) ballot totals were...

Wallace/Wichita counties: 1,279
Douglas/Wyandotte counties: 81,762

The 2016 Electoral College cartogram sure looked like a mess and was difficult to recognize as the United States... but it told a very good visual story about the proportionate power of each state relative to their population and electoral college representation.

You can probably see exactly where I'm going with this...

My curiosity was again peaked, and I wondered what a Kansas county map would look like as a cartogram according to population. Well, I put my primitive graphic design skills back to work to do just that. While it certainly isn't pretty, I thought it turned out much better than my original cave drawing draft on our driveway with sidewalk chalk.

Here is a base map of Kansas, showing each county size in proportion to it population compared to the population of the entire state. While I tried to keep the general geographic location close, you can see it becomes extremely difficult to position each county correctly when there is a large difference in size. I was also relegated to using the two-letter county abbreviations, as I quickly realized some counties wouldn't be big enough to even write their name inside and still have a final readable image that would fit easily on a computer or mobile screen.
The first map is white so you can find your county easier in this conglomeration that I intended to somewhat resemble the state of Kansas.

Of course, the map I was more interested in was the same red/purple/blue shading I used above on the first map, but now applied to my new cartogram.

I feel this map tells a more accurate story about how Kansas voted in the 2018 race for governor.

As a resident of Wallace County, and as a representative of the cluster of six northwest Kansas counties in the top-left corner, this map visually explains the importance of fighting for our rural way of life.

Communicating well with legislators from urban areas to make sure I understand how their communities work and they understand how my communities work is of the utmost importance.

I never want to have the attitude of "it's us versus them" because that accomplishes nothing and this map proves that a battle like that may not turn out well for the rural citizens of Kansas.

As we begin a new session with opposing parties in the Administrative and Legislative branches of government, I am going to remain optimistic about doing what is best for my district and Kansas, with a watchful eye for "unintended consequences" that could harm rural Kansans.

In actuality, that is no different than how I went about my work when we had a Republican governor.
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 © 2018 Smith For Kansas, All rights reserved.

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