Alaska Supreme Court clarifies redistricting decision

Amended Proclamation districts

The Amended Proclamation districts used in the last election.

Alaska’s highest court says the first step in the redistricting process is to draw political boundaries based on state constitutional requirements.

The Alaska Supreme Court last week clarified an earlier decision in which it had ordered the Alaska Redistricting Board to redraw the state’s political map for next year’s elections. The board had requested clarification on two points, including whether the board is prohibited from keeping the current configuration of any districts in the future plan.

The court, in a written order, said as long as the board begins by drawing districts that meet state constitutional requirements, the fact a resulting district is the same or similar to a prior iteration wouldn’t prevent the new district from being approved.

The Redistricting Board has said previously that it intends to wait for the U.S. Supreme Court decision on provisions of the federal Voting Rights Act before redrawing the state’s political boundaries. Alaska is among the states that must get approval, a requirement the state has called unwarranted.

A decision in the case is expected by June.

Redistricting Board Chairman John Torgerson says the board wants to see how the court rules before moving forward.