Redistricting ruling welcome, but deadline spurs confusion.
Had the new redistricting plan for Kansas not been so surprising, a quick filing deadline would have made sense.
As it was, a federal court ruling came out Thursday with distinctly different boundaries for the Kansas House in particular.
Candidates suddenly found themselves in different districts. Rather than push back the filing deadline in light of the changes, the ruling maintained a noon Monday deadline, less than four days after the new boundaries were revealed.
Hopefuls rushed to get paperwork to Topeka on time, and other confusion ensued. A prime example came locally, as an August GOP primary race pitting Garden City Commissioner John Doll against incumbent Reynaldo Mesa, R-Garden City, in House District 123 covering most of Garden City appeared in jeopardy.
A quick look at the new boundaries led some to believe Doll's home was in an adjacent district, putting him out of the race in the 123rd.
Since it would have been unlikely for another candidate to step up in time, Mesa would have run unopposed. That's never welcome, as uncontested races cannot deliver the kind of public debate voters need to evaluate candidates and where they stand on issues.
While a closer look at the map showed Doll's residence was indeed just inside the 123rd District, it was easy to see how boundary shifts could have pushed some candidates to the sidelines.
Elsewhere, some seeking office hastily moved in their redrawn districts to remain eligible. Such maneuvering was the latest unexpected development in Kansas' bizarre path to redistricting, a process saved by judges who rightly based their boundaries on population changes.
Thankfully, the court rescued the process from self-serving state lawmakers determined to craft boundaries that favored their political agendas.
One downside in the court's ruling, however, was in not allowing more time for candidates to figure out where they stood in the new political landscape.
While it would have been better to somehow extend the filing deadline — after all, what could have happened in Garden City's House race would have been a disservice to voters who deserve choices — at least we're moving forward in the election process.