Secretary of State explains why his office wants to change the Kansas Constitution

Posted: Updated:
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

Did you know there's a constitutional amendment on the November ballot here in Kansas?  We first told you about it last month.

Now, with early voting beginning next Monday, Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab is working to get the word out because it's a confusing amendment.

Back in the 1980s lawmakers changed the constitution to require the Secretary of State's office to call college students and military personnel after the U.S. Census numbers came back to double check on where they really wanted to be counted as residents.

The fear was that without this change rural areas would lose representatives at the Kansas Statehouse. 

"At that time they were changing the complete way they were doing redistricting in state offices," Schwab explained.

But, Secretary of State Scott Schwab says time has shown this new way is a lot of extra work that hasn't made a difference in representation.

"If this doesn't pass we have to pay upwards of $834,000 to call these people," Schwab said, adding the total could top a million dollars with having to hunt down unlisted cell phone numbers.  "Ten years ago, when this was done, it only moved about 13,000 people.  So, if you do the math, what we paid per person was just  astronomical and it didn't change anything."

Making those calls, Schwab says, would take at least three to six months, maybe longer, delaying redistricting efforts across the state.   

"No state does this. We are the only state who does this," Schwab said.  "And we want to make sure that the State House, State Senate and State School Board, those things get done quickly. And if we have to adjust those numbers (first) it's going to be a long year. 2021 will be a very long year." 

He says a yes vote means less work and tax money saved.

Check out these photos from across KAKEland snapped by our viewers, staff and local officials. Do you have pictures to share with us? Email them to news@kake.com.

MORE SLIDESHOWS HERE