Alaskans For Fair Redistricting Submits Plan to Redistricting Board
Alaskans For Fair Redistricting will submit its vision of Alaska’s political future to the Alaska Redistricting Board today during the board’s public hearing at the Anchorage Legislative Information office.
The AFFR plan, one of several to be presented to the board, proposes to redraw the political map in Alaska for the coming decade. AFFR’s map is largely similar to the existing district map for Alaska with the following notable differences:
· Southeast Alaska loses a seat due to due population decline;
· The Mat Su area gains a seat due to population increases;
· The interior portion of the state would include two new lateral districts that stretch from the west coast to the Canadian border;
· The Copper River region would be consolidated in a single district with Valdez;
· The Bristol Bay region and Aleutian chain would be united in a single district; and,
· A new district would encompass the state’s central southern coast from Kodiak Island to Prince William Sound.
AFFR’s plan strives to protect the voting strength of Alaska Natives as required by the federal Voting Rights Act. The current composition of legislative districts includes four districts that have more than 50 percent Alaska Native voters and two that are at least 35 percent Alaska Native. AFFR’s plan proposes five districts with populations that are majority Alaska Native and one that is 35 percent Alaska Native.
Thursday’s statewide teleconference by the Alaska Redistricting Board represents the last chance for Alaskans to submit plans or provide input to the board before it begins work on its own draft. The board is scheduled to release its draft plan by April 12, after which it will take additional public testimony. The board must adopt a final plan by mid-June
AFFR was responsible in large part for the current Alaska legislative map, created in 2001 following the release of the 2000 Census data. A plan proposed by AFFR was adopted by the Alaska Redistricting Board in 2001. With a few minor tweaks, the Alaska Supreme Court approved it, and it is the map under which Alaska legislators are elected today.
“We believe the current balance – 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans in the Senate, and bipartisan majorities in both houses – is working for Alaskans and results in level-headed compromise that serves everyone,” said AFFR co-chair Carl Marrs, the CEO of Old Harbor Native Corporation. “That’s what we want to see protected.”
AFFR is a nonpartisan group representing Alaska Natives, nonprofits, labor unions and individuals with the goal of maintaining balance between conservative and progressive values in the Alaska legislature.
AFFR’s redistricting plan is available online at www.akfairredistricting.com.