Rural residents comment on redistricting maps
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As the public sounded off last week in urban centers such as Juneau, Chairman John Torgerson said the Board’s initial focus was rural Alaska.
“One of (our) first actions was to formally state our intentions of drafting a plan that included nine Alaska Native-influenced districts.”
Torgerson says it was done to comply with the Voting Rights Act’s requirements to avoid retrogression.
“Retrogression is drawing a district or a redistricting plan in manner that worsens minority voting strength as compared to the last plan that we are under,” says Torgerson.
The panel has split up into two-person teams to take public comments in several rural communities simultaneously. They traveled to Delta Junction, Nome, Unalaska, Kotzebue, Tok, and Cold Bay earlier this week. Then, they went to Bethel and Glenallen on Wednesday, and Galena and Barrow on Thursday.
Members of the Alaska Redistricting Board hear from Sitka residents Friday. Then it will be Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, Haines, Skagway, Angoon, and Hoonah residents this weekend and next week. A statewide teleconference is planned for all-day on May 6th.
Then the board will work on a final map redrawing legislative boundaries. They have until June 13th to finish it.
The Redistricting Board will hear from…
– Sitka residents from 1 to 3pm Friday (April 29th) at Centennial Hall
- Craig residents from 11am to 1pm Saturday (April 30th) at the Craig High School Library
- Ketchikan residents from 4 to 6pm Saturday (April 30th) in the Borough Assembly Chambers
- Wrangell residents from 11am to 1pm Monday (May 2nd) at the Nolan Center
- Petersburg residents from 11am to 1pm Tuesday (May 3rd) in the City Council Chambers
- Skagway residents from 9 to 11am Wednesday (May 4th) in the Assembly Chambers
- Haines residents from 1 to 3pm Wednesday (May 4th) in the Borough Public Library
- Angoon residents from 10 to noon Thursday (May 5th) in the Elementary School Gymnasium
- Hoonah residents from 3 to 5pm Thursday (May 5th) in the City Council Chambers
– Then, the statewide hearing on Friday, May 6th in Anchorage will be teleconferenced on the Alaska Legislative Information Office Network. The morning session from 9 to noon will be for presenting any suggested maps or plan revisions. The afternoon session from 2 to 6pm will be just for taking public comments on the Alaska Redistricting Board’s draft maps.
More information and suggested maps can be found on their website at www.akredistricting.org
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Rachel Waldholz is the Reporter for Raven Radio - KCAW. And after two years and countless stories, today is her last day on the job. In September, Waldholz will join the APRN as a roving, state-wide reporter on energy issues in Alaska. Beginning Monday, August 31st, Melissa Marconi-Wenzel will return as Morning Edition Host. Former Winter Fellow Emily Kwong will be the interim reporter as Raven Radio seeks a permanent replacement. Downloadable audio. more