Monday, May 16, 2011

Executive Session Results - New Director, Voting Rights Consultant Tomorrow

Taylor Bickford and Jim Ellis were made Executive Director and Assistant Director respectively when the Alaska Redistricting Board came out of their executive session. (I've left my Macbook at the MacHaus to get a new fan, so this is more a summary than usual. Probably all most of you need anyway.)

The second issue they discussed in the executive sessionb was litigation. What Chair John Torgerson revealed in the open session was:

1. Voting Rights consultant Lisa Handley will be on the phone tomorrow to answer questions about her analysis of the data. (It wasn't clear what time she'd be speaking.)
2. She will be in Anchorage in person next Tuesday, May 24.
3. Her analysis of the voting in Alaska's recent elections changes the percentages of Native population necessary for qualifying as Majority/minority, majority/effective, and majority/influence districts.

After the meeting Attorney Michael White spoke to spectators - namely folks from AFFR and the Rights Coalition who had questions about the numbers mentioned in the meeting. (I have some of this on video, but downloading on my wife's computer is giving me interrupted audio, so I'll rely on what I remember. I'm hoping to be able to pick up my Macbook later this afternoon.)

The notes I have include the following information:
1. The benchmark that the board will be judged against from last time will be:

Minority/Majority Districts - 4
Minority/Effective Districts - 1
Minority/Influence Districts - 1
Minority/Majority Districts - 2
Minority/Effective Districts - 1

2. The House seats are likely to be fine (I understand this to mean it should be possible to draw maps meetng the minimum population requirements), the third effective Senate district is the problem.

3. The threshold for effective districts, statewide, has gone up to 41.?% (up from 35%) statewide, though in some districts it was different. In District 6 (the huge district from McCarthy over Fairbanks down the Yukon) already last time it was 49% - which is just one percent from being a majority district. District 37 - had a lower threshold for being effective.

In fact there were lots of questions about the terms 'influence' and 'effective'. What I understood was that 'effective' is now the DOJ's preferred term but that Lisa Handley should address all this tomorrow.

The other issue that came up was that the DOJ would be looking at voting age population, not total population. From what I understand most of the plans that have been submitted used total population, not voting age population.

4:16pm The MacHaus just called to say my computer is ready. More later

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments will be reviewed, not for content (except ads), but for style. Comments with personal insults, rambling tirades, and significant repetition will be deleted. Ads disguised as comments, unless closely related to the post and of value to readers (my call) will be deleted. Click here to learn to put links in your comment.