June 20, 2013 | Vol. 39, No. 25

Assembly asks for consideration of Option A in redistricting plan

The Petersburg Borough Assembly unanimously voted to send a letter to the Alaska Redistricting Board requesting consideration of Option A during its regular meeting Monday evening.

“We are asking that the Alaska Redistricting Board retain in its districting plan for the 2014 elections the districting for Southeast Alaska, Option A, that the Board unanimously adopted May 14, 2012,” Petersburg Borough Assembly Vice Mayor Sue Flint read.

The Alaska Supreme Court ordered the Board to redraw the four House districts in Southeast Alaska to comply solely with the requirements of contiguity, compactness and relative socioeconomic integration in Article VI, Section 6 of the Alaska Constitution, and not to alter the resulting plan based on the federal Voting Rights Act, VRA, because there is no VRA justification for deviating from Alaska constitutional requirements in Southeast Alaska in May of 2012.

“After considering five options for the districting of Southeast, including Option A, the Board unanimously selected Option A as the best plan for districting Southeast,” Flint stated. “The Alaska Supreme Court determined not to use Option A for the 2012 elections only out of concern that objections to Option A might preclude timely pre clearance from the Department of Justice.”

Flint went on to say that the same considerations do not constrain the Board now.

“Option A remains the districting plan for Southeast that best meets constitutional requirements,” she said. “The VRA still provides no justification for deviating from Alaska constitutional requirements in Southeast Alaska, and there is ample time to obtain Department of Justice pre-clearance of a redistricting plan that includes Option A before the 2014 elections.”

This option has been the choice of the Petersburg Borough Assembly from the beginning and keeps Petersburg with Sitka and Wrangell rather than Juneau.

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