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You know how you show up for an election and after you vote for the candidates you’re supporting you find all these issues at the back of the ballot that you know nothing about?  Well, this article is designed to tell you about the one ballot issue all Kansans will find at the back of their ballot this year. 

This a relatively minor issue, with the vote changing how Kansas counts “the place of residents” for students and military personnel.  Currently under the Kansas constitution, the Secretary of State is required to survey college students and military personnel assigned to bases to find out if they want to be counted where they’re residing now, or where they live when they’re not at college or on post. 

College students, who spend nine months of the year in Manhattan, for example, might indicate they want to be counted back home in Salina. If they are from out of state, a member of the military posted to Fort Riley might indicate they want to be marked as residing in their hometown in Ohio.

Why change that?

The process was originally put in place to help squelch the loss of population from rural communities.  There are some who still suggest this would end up favoring urban centers over rural ones, or would hurt more conservative parts of the stage, but the effect would be small and not worth the costs, says current Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab (R). 

According to Schwab, the process costs a lot of money, and takes a lot of time.   Schwab estimates that for the upcoming Census, the process would cost Kansas over $800,000, and reduce the amount of time for the 2022 redistricting process by 3 to 6 months.

Second, the Census is designed to help states and the Federal government allocate funding for services and programs depending on how many people live in a given community. For a decade, until the next Census in 2030, the resources for those communities will be dependent on the 2020 Census count. College students and military personnel spend most of the year on campus or on base. The resources to support them should go to those communities for infrastructure, libraries, health services, community organizations, and other public services.

Support for this amendment has broad bipartisan support. 

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