Next Tuesday, July 2, in Juneau, the Alaska Redistricting Board is holding public hearing on recently unveiled seven new board redistricting options, plus four additional third-party options. Additionally, one more rumored third-party option by Sealaska Corporation has been reportedly “accepted by the Board” sight unseen prior to the deadline and has undergone several changes since that time, but has not been posted on the Redistricting Board’s website along with the other 11 options for the public to review. The 11 options that are posted were posted Tuesday, June 25.
So far many of the options posted are impossible to read, particularly with regard to significant boundaries within the Juneau area. Yet communities and individuals are being asked to testify on these options in Anchorage, June 28, in Fairbanks, July 1, and in Juneau, July 2. The Juneau hearing is to be from 1-4 p.m. at the Beltz Room at the Capitol Building. Or, one can teleconference in their three-minute testimony at 1-855-463-5009. Written comments can also be submitted. Maps (time consuming to download and hard to interpret) and other details on submitting comments are available at www.akredistricting.org.
It’s clear that the highly partisan Redistricting Board is merely going through the motions of acceptable public process. They have been told by courts at least four times in the last two and half years to develop a plan according to the Hickel process, the process with guidelines outlined in the State Constitution. So far the Redistricting Board has totally failed to demonstrate they have used the Hickel process to develop credible maps. They have totally failed to get accurate and complete information out to the public in a timely manner so that individuals and communities can effectively comment at “public hearings” on various plans.
Therefore, after at least over four strikes with the courts, it’s time for the Alaska Supreme Court to end the partisan board’s fun and games and appoint a non-partisan redistricting master to take over the process. Nothing short of this will get Alaska back to a balanced Legislature that fairly represents the majority of Alaskans. If you live in SE Alaska, and you care about better government in Alaska, your testimony to this effect at the upcoming hearing in Juneau will be helpful in moving the process into the accountable direction that is needed at this time.