The Sedgwick County Commission approved the formation of an ad hoc committee to help with redistricting at a special meeting held Nov. 19.

Redistricting efforts are being taken on ahead of the 2022 election as part of a routine process the county’s governing body has to complete every 10 years to equalize populations and ensure equal representation between district boundaries. Open to more, a total of 11 different potential maps were presented for the commission to review at a special redistricting meeting held on Nov. 15.

Looking to get more input to achieve a balanced redistricting, the commission initially discussed forming a redistricting committee at its Nov. 17 meeting – with the commission to appoint five representatives and the League of Women Voters Wichita-Metro to appoint 10. That plan was amended at the special meeting, with a resolution passed (3-2) for the committee to be comprised of 15 members total, with five each appointed by the Sedgwick County Republican party, Democratic party and the county commission. Recently elected Derby City Council Member Elizabeth Stanton was selected by Jim Howell to represent District 5.

By majority vote, the committee is to make its own redistricting map recommendation for the commission’s consideration by Dec. 10. The commission has set a deadline to take action on redistricting by Dec. 15.

While Howell made an appointment to the ad hoc committee, he voted against its formation at the special meeting, stating that the commission should not be giving special preference but work to collect a broad range of perspectives on the issue.

“This is extremely complicated and it’s not a great process. This idea of making this committee is not making it better; it’s making it worse,” Howell said. “We need to open this up to everybody.”

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