The Alaska Redistricting Board will review seven different political maps as well as several submitted by third party groups.
The board must again redraw legislative boundaries, after the Alaska Supreme Court in December found its plan did not follow the state constitution. The state Division of Elections used an interim map in the 2012 election.
The new maps are the first step in that process.
The board agreed at a meeting Friday to consider all the options. Chairman John Torgerson said members had many choices in changing the political boundaries.
“There are some strikingly similar districts. There are many options that are convened in all those.”
The Redistricting Board only started working on new boundaries two weeks ago. It had been waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on a Voting Rights Act case, which will affect the way lines are drawn. Earlier this month a Fairbanks Superior Court judge criticized the board for delaying the process and ordered them to begin work immediately.
Zack Fields is Alaska Democratic Party communications director. He says even though the board has now offered a set of maps, it’s still holding up the process:
“The redistricting board appears to be stalling, and by in theory considering many, many plans, the redistricting board has given itself maximum flexibility to change district lines later. And the problem is citizens are left in limbo wondering who are my representatives going to be.”
The Alaska Redistricting Board will hold a series of public meeting on the maps beginning in Anchorage on June 28. Testimony will be taken in Juneau on July 2nd.
Some of the most controversial districts in the interim plan are in the Interior and Southeast Alaska. As KTOO reported last week, Petersburg has asked the board to take the town out of Juneau’s House District 32 and put it in a district with smaller Southeast communities.
You can examine the proposed maps here.