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Hearing continues in Kentucky redistricting lawsuit

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 5:30
Published: Apr. 7, 2022 at 3:52 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WYMT) - Testimony continues in a legal challenge to new Kentucky House and Congressional district maps.

Kentucky Democrats sued after the Republican majority in the General Assembly approved new maps.

The Governor vetoed those maps, then the Republican majority overruled those vetoes.

Now, attorneys representing the Secretary of State and the Commonwealth, those being sued, called witnesses.

Democrats claim these maps, which determine who people will vote for in Kentucky House and Congressional races, are unconstitutional. They said Republicans drew them to get even more of a political advantage.

On Thursday, people who have made a living from studying these types of cases took the stand.

This came after Democrats called their own experts who studied political cases, algorithms, statistics and estimations of voting patterns in districts.

Sean Trende was first up for the Commonwealth, who said he has written books about elections and testified in other legal cases. He said he is being paid $400 an hour to look in Kentucky’s districts, both currently and from a historical standpoint.

Trende was on the stand for 3 hours, with most of the testimony on Kentucky’s Congressional map, specifically the first district which starts in far western Kentucky, then follows the Kentucky Tennessee border, then snakes up to include Franklin County.

“So, the price is if you put the residents of Franklin County in the increasing Democratic districts, it makes other districts more Republican,” said Trende, a Political Science Analyst and Author.

“The citizens of Franklin County were shocked when they saw this. That’s all I’m going to say about that,” said Judge Thomas Wingate.

He was talking about how Franklin County voters went from being represented by the sixth district to the first. Trende also said the first district snakes the way it does to preserve the historical nature of the second district, to keep Bowling Green and Owensboro in it.

It is unknown when Judge Wingate will issue a ruling on the case, but he did say whatever he decides will be appealed to the state Supreme Court.

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