Redistricting fight costs considered

Posted: Monday, November 12, 2001

FAIRBANKS - Members of the state's redistricting board are worried the panel will run short of money to defend the plan.

Challenges to the plan are scheduled to go to trial Jan. 14 in Anchorage. Last week, the board met and voted 3-2 to commit $300,000 to extend a contract providing legal services to the panel.

Should the state-funded board run short on funds, it would have to ask the Legislature for more money. But Republican leaders in the GOP-controlled Legislature are among those who oppose the plan. A legislative panel recently voted to spend $250,000 on legal costs to aid the court challenge against the new map of the state's election districts.

The plan faces legal challenges by communities such as Delta Junction that contend redistricting would hurt them financially or reduce their political power. Republicans also claim the final redistricting map is a partisan attempt to dilute GOP clout in the Legislature by putting 20 Republican incumbents against one another in the 2002 election.

The board's mission was to redraw Alaska's election districts for the next 10 years, using the new U.S. Census Bureau data. In June the board voted 3-2 to approve the final map - with Republican appointees to the board strongly opposed to the plan.

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