April 26, 2012 | Vol. 39, No. 17

Superior Court rejects Redistricting Board lines

The Alaska Redistricting Board will once again appeal a Superior Court Judge's decision to redraw district lines.

Courtesy of Alaska Redistricting Board
The Redistricting Board’s interim statewide map of legislative districts.

Alaska Redistricting Board Executive Director Taylor Bickford said an appeal will be filed on Friday.

Judge Michael McConahy issued a decision last week in the 2011 Redistricting Cases v. Alaska Redistricting Board case, saying that “The Board did not comply with the directive of the Alaskan Supreme Court to draw and provide support for a Hickel [v. Southeast Conference] plan.

The “Hickel Plan” is a 1994 Alaska Supreme Court decision requiring the board to comply with the Alaska State Constitution in making decisions.

McConahy also said that due to upcoming deadlines in the electoral process, compliance with the Hickel plan was necessary to move forward.

The City of Petersburg filed a response in Superior Court early last week to appeal the board's decision to keep the city in the newly formed House District 32 with Juneau. The city had asked to stay in the same voting district as Sitka.

Petersburg City manager Steve Giesbrecht said, “At this point, I am not sure what to say. It appears that the case is going to the Supreme Court on appeal, but I have also heard that 'they' (not sure who) is considering appointing a 'Master' to oversee redrawing the lines. All in all, it appears that Southeast Alaska will have another chance to see the lines redrawn, but no guarantees they will keep us in our current district.”

The city last year filed a lawsuit against the board's decision, and although the city lost its case, the board was ordered to redraw district lines. However, the new lines made no changes to the Southeast area.

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