Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Board Approves New Kodiak and Dillingham Districts

I'll try to summarize the outcomes of the afternoon session of the Alaska Redistricting Board.  Part 1 - this post is on the new Kodiak and Dillingham Districts.

NOTE:  All the district numbers will be changed so there is a more sequential numbering system throughout the state.  So numbers given here are related to the maps they were using today. 

1.  They approved a new map of South West Alaska Districts which they believe will meet Department of Justice standards of no retrogression.  The map below is close, but turned out not to be the actual map they created.  They got enough Native population into the Kodiak district so that it could be paired with the Dillingham.

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To do this they had to find Native areas to pull into the Kodiak district (35) (like Nanwalek and Port Graham) and they had to shed non-Native locations like Dutch Harbor from the Dillingham District (36.)  Actually, they created a district that goes from Yakutat in SE across Prince William Sound to Kodiak.

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To get a high enough Native voting age population in the second district for this Senate pair, they had to shed some non-Native population.  Since Dutch Harbor is mostly non-Native, the ended up splitting the Aleutians at Akutan.   And the connected back to the Lower Kuskokwim Delta.  I think St. Paul and St. George are part of this District 37, but I'm not completely sure - the color on the map I have is wrong, but I think someone mentioned that. 

You can see from the video why I didn't totally catch it all.  The maps they handed out weren't labeled right.  The map they were looking at on the computer turns out to be the wrong map. 

Here's board member PeggyAnn McConnochie presenting these new districts to the board before they approved them.

1B - they had to reapprove Kenai Borough because some of it had been taken out (Nanwalek and Port Graham seemed to be the key ones) and put into the Kodiak district that now goes from Yakutat to Kodiak.

They had an hour long executive session before lunch to talk about litigation issues before this plan was presented.  Presumably there might be some questions about House districts not being exactly contiguous.  This comes from the state constitution and means:   "All parts of a district being connected at some point with the rest of the district."  Since the Aleutian Chain is islands, they have to be connected by water, but what about that section on the mainland that includes Bethel, Chefornak and Mekoryuk?  It's not clear, as I said already, if St. Paul and St. George are in D36 or D37.  I think they said the color was wrong on the map.  They could be the contiguous link between D37's Eastern Aleutian section and the mainland section. 

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