PAOLA — Voters will be asked Nov. 5 to consider an amendment to the state constitution that would eliminate the practice of adjusting U.S. Census figures for college students and military personnel.

If the constitutional amendment is approved, students and military personnel would be counted in the Kansas census as living in the city where they reside April 1.

The Secretary of State’s Office reported that in the past it has had to contact every college student and military member residing in Kansas to determine their official residence as part of the census adjustment — for some that meant their hometown or an out-of-state residence.

A statement provided by Secretary of State Scott Schwab called the practice of adjusting census numbers “antiquated, burdensome and expensive.”

Kansas is the only state in the nation that adjusts its census numbers, according to the Secretary of State’s Office, which estimates adjusting numbers for the 2020 census would cost $835,000 and hundreds of hours of state worker time.

The 2010 adjustment affected about 13,000 people out of the 2.9 million, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

The adjusted numbers are also used to redraw districts for state lawmakers and the state board of education.

Support for the constitutional amendment to eliminate adjustments was overwhelming in the state Legislature. The constitutional amendment passed 40-0 in the Senate and 117-7 in the House of Representatives.

Voters don’t have to wait for the Nov. 5 general election to cast their ballots regarding this amendment as well as several contested city and school races in the county. Advance voting by mail and in person at the County Clerk’s Office began Oct. 16. The clerk’s office is located in the County Administration building at 201 S. Pearl St. in Paola.

Candidate profiles for contested races in Paola, Louisburg and Osawatomie were printed in the Oct. 16 edition of The Miami County Republic.

News Editor Doug Carder can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or doug.carder@miconews.com.

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