Court rejects new redistricting plan

A judge has sent the state’s redistricting plan back to the drawing board again. Superior Court Judge Micheal McConahy on Friday rejected the board’s revised plan for new legislative boundaries.

The board redrafted parts of its plan back in March. That was after the Alaska Supreme Court justices had found the board didn’t meet requirements under the state constitution while trying to comply with the federal voting rights act. The Justices told the board at that time it had to rewrite the plan so that it first complied with state law and only then “make revisions that deviate from the Alaska Constitution when deviation is the only means available to satisfy Voting Rights Act requirements.”

That Supreme Court decision was the result of a legal challenge from two Fairbanks-area residents. They filed another objection to the revised plan this past week, as did seven other parties including the Fairbanks Northstar Borough and the City of Petersburg. All claimed the board failed to comply with the Supreme Court order.

Superior Court Judge McConahy agreed. In his six-page ruling on Friday, McConahy wrote that the board did not comply with either the spirit or the letter of the order. The Board or other parties have five days from the order to ask for an emergency review by the state Supreme Court.