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Missouri Districts Descend Into Chaos

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (CN) - In the latest challenge to Missouri's new state Senate districts, six voters claim in Federal Court that the map should be struck down because it favors urban voters.

The map, required to reflect population shifts as reflected by the most recent census, was approved by a bipartisan commission in February. But Beverly Ehlen and her co-plaintiffs claim the map contains a deviation of about 9.6 percent between the most overpopulated and most underpopulated districts.

"The commission's action in drawing six severely overpopulated and six severely underpopulated districts invidiously discriminates against rural interests in favor of urban districts," the complaint states. "Regional favoritism is an impermissible districting criterion."

Ehlen claims the discrepancy violates the 14th Amendment.

The plaintiffs ask the court to strike down the new map and replace it with a map drawn last year by a state judicial panel, which was rejected this year by the Missouri Supreme Court.

Ehlen and her co-plaintiffs are represented by Edward Greim, with Graves Bartle Marcus, of Kansas City, Mo.

The complaint adds to the snarled tangle this year's Missouri elections have become. Due to difficulty in approving the new district lines, the candidacy filing period has begun, but some candidates may end up running in a district different from the one for which they declare candidacy.

The Missouri Supreme Court is also considering challenges to the new districts for the U.S. House and the state House.

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