Alaska board passes second redistricting plan

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July 15, 2013


By Alex Murray

JUNEAU, Alaska: After having its first plan rejected by the Alaska Supreme Court late last year, the Alaska Redistricting Board has passed a revised map of the state's voting districts.

On Sunday, the Board voted unanimously to adopt the new map. Should the high court clear the map, it would end a two year redistricting process. Although the court ruled against the first map, the 2012 elections were held under it due to time constraints. Board chairman John Torgerson expressed certainty that the map would be approved once submitted.[1]

The political implications of the new map have already been considered, with two possible 2014 races pitting Republican incumbents against each other. In North Pole, Reps. Doug Isaacson and Tammie Wilson face a primary battle, while in Anchorage, Sens. Anna Fairclough and Fred Dyson may square off.[2][3]

Prior to the recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Shelby County v. Holder, Alaska was required to pre-clear its maps under the Voting Rights Act because of the past use of English-language voter eligibility tests which were found to disenfranchise Alaska Native voters. In Shelby, the Court struck down a formula that was used to determine pre-clearance coverage, effectively ending pre-clearance until Congress passes a new formula. Due to the decision, the Redistricting Board only needed to adhere to the Alaska Constitution in drawing its map, which Board attorney Michael White said would have been impossible to draw under both VRA and state constitutional requirements.[4]

Alaska is one of 24 Republican state government trifectas.

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