State House Republicans object to voting precincts split by new districts

01/17/2012 12:12 PM

House Republicans are criticizing the new House District map for splitting up precincts, which they say could cost counties tens of thousands dollars more in election costs.

Rep. Addia Wuchner, R-Florence, issued a statement today saying 16 precincts slated to be split in Boone County could lead to the creation of between six and eight new precincts. That, she said, would cost Boone County as much as $90,000 in new election costs.

In all, the House redistricting map that passed through that chamber on Thursday could split 246 precincts, according to an analysis from the Legislative Research Commission that Wuchner requested. The House Republicans had proposed a separate map. And while that map had some issues — as discussed in Thursday’s floor debate — it would have split just 46 precincts.

“Given the tight budget situation both on the state and local level, it is simply unimaginable to burden local government and taxpayers the added cost given the redistricting plan’s blatant partisan and political motivations,” Wuchner said in the statement. In addition, the confusion this plan would create among voters only further serves to create apathy among Kentuckians in a presidential year.”

Wuchner said in a phone interview that precincts can’t be split among state representatives. And in Boone County, county commissioner precincts already have been drawn.

“It could have been an unfortunate oversight. But I can only look at it from the perspective of my local taxpayers,” Wuchner said. “The people of Kentucky deserve good government in the most efficient manner to do the task at hand.”

House Democratic Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, issued a response saying that the House Republican’s alternative map would have been costlier because Stumbo argued that it would have violated federal law. Specifically, Stumbo said the 77th District in Lexington would no longer have had a majority of minority constituents after the map removed precincts with a large number of Hispanics.

“The Republican plan might have fewer precinct cuts, but it suffers from an even greater legal defect, because it is a clear violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and would be summarily struck down by the courts. That would cost the state even more,” Stumbo said.

Wuchner, who represents the 66th District in Boone County, already faces a Republican primary challenge from former Cathy Flaig, a former Boone County commissioner and past president of the Northern Kentucky Tea Party.

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