Wednesday, March 23, 2011

PeggyAnn McConnochie, Redistricting Board Member, Video

The most recent appointee to the Alaska Redistricting Board is PeggyAnn McConnochie, who replaced Albert Clough.  PeggyAnn (don't leave off the Ann)  is also a blogger (real estate advice, though the header photo is definitely not Juneau) and I got to talk to her during a break yesterday.  We talked about the computer program they are using to create plans.

Right now, the board should be meeting in Wasilla at the City Hall. 

They're scheduled to be there until 7pm so wonder on by if you're in the neighborhood. 

If it is anything like yesterday in Anchorage there will be plenty of time to talk to the Board members because not many people showed up to make presentations to the board. 

And Matsu has big changes coming up.  Your districts are well above the ideal size, so you'll probably pick up one, even two districts depending on how they redraw the lines.  Here's a map of SC Alaska and you can see the numbers.  The ideal size is 17,755 per district and you can see the Matsu districts are mostly well over that number.

District 15 - Wasilla seat held by Rep. Mark Neuman is  46% above the ideal at 25,974.

District 14 - another Wasilla seat, this one held by Rep. Wes Keller is 33% above at 23,682.

District 13 - neighboring Palmer seat held by Rep. Carl Gatto is 32% above at 23,507.

District 16 - Chugiak seat held by Rep. Bill Stoltz is above the target of 17,755 by 21% at 21,559.

A couple of neighboring districts are low:

District 6 - the large interior district north of Fairbanks held by new Rep. Alan Dick is 19% below the ideal size of 17,755 at 14,235.

District 12   - the large seat that stretches from around Chickaloon to Valdez held by new Rep. Eric Feige is 16% below the target at  14,811.

But these are districts with high Alaska Native populations and the board has to be careful about "retrogression."  Here's from a previous post on the criteria the board will use:

Then there are the Federal Statutory Redistricting Principles - two sections (2 and 5) of the US Voting Rights Act.

  • Section 2 - No denial or abridgement of voting rights on account of race, color or status as a member of a language minority.
  • Section 5 - No avoidable retrogression.  Retrogression is drawing a district in a manner that worsens minority voting strength as compared to the previous district configuration.  The minority group must be a large, cohesive and vote as a bloc.

An attorney for the Native American Rights Fund argued that these guidelines were simplified and the changes were misleading.  She argued that the Federal guidelines do not include the word 'avoidable' before regression for example.  Attorney White respectfully disagreed, but did agree to another change she suggested.  

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