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Fairbanks Judge Rejects Revised Redistricting Plan

April 20, 2012|By Chris Klint | Channel 2 News

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A Fairbanks judge has rejected the Alaska Redistricting Board’s revised redistricting plan as insufficiently compliant with the Alaska Constitution, after the Alaska Supreme Court rejected the board's original plan in March.

The Friday ruling from Superior Court Judge Michael P. McConahy (PDF) says the board ignored the state supreme court’s order, based on previous redistricting case Hickel v. Southeast Conference, to draft a plan primarily compliant with the state constitution rather than the federal Voting Rights Act. It also claims that the revised plan reused many voting districts from the original plan, without individually revising them for compliance with the court order.

“The Board did not make specific findings, by district, that each of the unchanged Proclamation Plan districts satisfied the requirements of the Alaska Constitution,” McConahy wrote. “The court finds that the Board’s method did not comply with either the spirit or the letter of the Alaska Supreme Court’s order and the Hickel process.”

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McConahy’s decision remands the revised plan back to the redistricting board to “draw a redistricting plan solely compliant with the state Constitution,” but delays that action for five business days pending a possible appeal by the board to the Alaska Supreme Court.

The redistricting board has scheduled a public meeting to determine whether it will appeal McConahy’s decision for 11:30 a.m. Tuesday at its Anchorage offices at 411 W. 4th Ave., Suite 302.

Members of the public may listen to the board’s teleconference by telephone at 1-855-463-5009, or watch a live stream of the meeting at http://www.aklegislature.tv.

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