What is the Eliminate Revision of Census Population Amendment in Kansas?

The measure goes to voters Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019

KMBZ News Staff
October 29, 2019 - 5:07 am
People stand inside voting booths

Richard Villalon / Getty Images

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Kansas City, MO - Voters in Kansas are being asked to weigh in on the Kansas Eliminate Revision of Census Population Amendment when they head to the polls on Tuesday, November 5.

Constitutional Amendment 1 is a polling question that has flown largely under the radar. It would reverse a provision added to the Kansas Constitution in 1988.

The amendment would change how some segments of the population in Kansas are counted in the 2020 census, according to Mark Johnson, associate professor at the University of Kansas School of Law.

"Students who are non-residents are not counted," Johnson explained. "But students who are residents of Kansas aren't counted where they go to school, they're counted where they live permanently."

According to Johnson, Kansas is the only state in the U.S. to count its population in such a way.

The same is true for non-resident military personnel in Kansas. That means more work for census staff, who retroactively re-classify those affected by the current provision in the constitution. 

"Somebody has to go into the specific records of each county, and call out the students who don't live in Kansas and the students who live in Kansas, but live in another county, and reassign them to that county," Johnson said.

The process is time-consuming and expensive for the state. Republican Secretary of State Scott Schwab, one of the measure's chief supporters, estimated Kansas would spend $834,000 to adjust the census numbers in 2020.  Democratic Governor Laura Kelly is also said to support the measure, and it passed unanimously in the State Senate, and passed 117-7 in the House. 

A vote for the amendment would remove the requirement to adjust the census population, and a vote against would preserve the constitution as-is.

The polls open at 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday, November 5. 

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