Felons can’t vote in Kansas, and an inmate’s address is considered to be wherever he lived before incarceration. Yet as Kansas City Star columnist Mary Sanchez warned, at least one proposed redistricting map before the Legislature would count the inmate population of the unusual number of penal institutions in the Leavenworth area, including the federal penitentiary, the Leavenworth Detention Center and the Lansing Correctional Facility. “That’s a potential bump of more than 5,000 people. It’s an unfair tally compared to portions of the state without prisons,” Sanchez wrote. Such “prison-based gerrymandering” shouldn’t be used to beef up the Leavenworth area’s population with inmates, she concluded, “just so politicians can benefit from their presence without ever having to answer to them as voters.”
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