Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Redistricting Board Rolls Out A Detailed Schedule

It's getting to be crunch time at the Redistricting Board.  Their new schedule has them finished with their Hickel Plan by July 12, 2013. Then if the US Supreme Court rules in the Shelby County v Holder decision to invalidate Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, they plan to be done with their plan by July 12.

There were several emails in the last two days for folks who have subscribed to the Board's emails.   Let's see if I can pull out the information from the emails with some explanation.


First there are work session where the meeting is open to the public, but basically they are developing maps.  They have to have an announced meeting as long as three or more Board members talk about redistricting.  But much of the time will be spent on the computers making maps.

Alaska Redistricting Board Mapping Work Sessions

The Alaska Redistricting Board will hold Mapping Work Sessions at the Anchorage office, 411 West 4th Avenue, Suite 302 from 8:00AM until 5:00PM on the following days:

June 12th, 2013,
June 13th, 2013,
June 14th, 2013,
June 15th, 2013
June 16th, 2013
June 17th, 2013
June 18th, 2013
June 19th, 2013
and June 20th, 2013.

This schedule may be subject to change. Notice of change will be provided.

These meetings are going on now.  I just couldn't drag myself over there over the weekend or in this hot weather yesterday and today.  I've posted about the meetings last week.  Probably there should be people there watching, but it's been more than I could handle.

Private Plans Due Friday June 21 at Noon

For anyone who wants to submit their own plan, it's got to be in by Friday at noon.  Mostly this will be done by organizations who have been tracking this - the two big political parties - Democrats and Republicans.  Several Native organizations have been following the process and have submitted plans in the earlier chapters of this process.

Any individual, group, or organization wishing to submit a proposed Hickel Plan for the Board to consider must do so no later than 12:00 p.m. on Friday, June 21. Hickel Plans are to be drawn based solely on the requirements of the Alaska Constitution and without any consideration to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA).
Submissions can be dropped off in person to the Alaska Redistricting Office or emailed to info@akredistricting.org.
Then the email refocuses on the work session and then the meeting to be held Friday June 21.  You'll notice the work session sort of wraps the meeting. 


 The Alaska Redistricting Board will hold a work session June 21, 2013 from 10:00AM until 4:00PM at their conference room at 411 West 4th Avenue, Suite 302.


 The Alaska Redistricting Board will hold a board meeting June 21, 2013 from 12:00PM (noon) until 1:00PM at their board room at 411 West 4th Avenue, Suite 302. The Board meeting will be teleconferenced. To listen call in at 1-855-463-5009 or streaming on AKL.TV. The Board intends to review the draft Hickel Plans created during the work sessions and also finalize the list of submitted third-party plans it will be considering.

What's a HICKEL PLAN?  Even for those of you following this, it could be confusing.  It means a plan that only considers the Alaska Constitutional requirements, not the Voting Rights Act (VRA) requirements.  The Court required the Board to draw these maps first and then stop.  Then they are to make the changes necessary to also meet the VRA requirements.  Of course, most of the Board is hoping they will be relieved of Section 5 of the VRA when the US Supreme Court issues its opinion on Shelby County v Holder, which I've posted about already.

Then Come Public Hearings

So a week after the June 21 meeting,  will be the first public hearing and people who submitted Hickel Plans will be able to present them to the Board at the hearings and anyone can testify about the plans.  The first time around I tried to present some information here for people going to the hearings and post questions people might want to ask.  I'll try to do that again.
The Board intends to hold public hearings in the following locations to solicit general comments and receive presentations on any third-party plans submitted prior to the Friday, June 21 deadline:

Anchorage (June 28, 2013) To be held at the Anchorage LIO [716 W 4th Avenue, Suite 200]  from 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Testimony will be taken in person and by teleconference 1-855-463-5009
Fairbanks (July 1, 2013)
To be held at the Fairbanks LIO [1292 Sadler Way Suite 308] from 12:30 PM - 4:00 PM
Testimony will be taken in person and by teleconference 1-855-463-5009
Juneau (July 2, 2013)
To be held in the Beltz Room, Capitol Building from 12:00PM - 4:00PM
Testimony will be taken in person and by teleconference 1855-463-5009
Any individual, group or organization wishing to present their submitted Hickel Plans at these hearings is required to provide reasonable advance notice to Board staff by:
Telephone (907-269-7402)
Fax (907-269-6691)
Email (info@akredistricting.org)

I'm guessing that 'reasonable advance notice' means they didn't get around to figuring out a specific number of days or hours before the hearings so they left it vague.  On the other hand, anyone turning in a Hickel Plan by the June 21 deadline, presumably, will say which public hearing they want to present it at when they turn in the plan.

My perception was that if there are minor issues that affect a neighborhood, or coincide with what the Board wants to do, your recommendations have a good chance of being adopted.  But if it conflicts with what the Board wants to do, probably not.  For example, in the first public hearings, lots of people from both Muldoon and Eagle River argued that they should not be in a single House district because they have very different interests.  And while the Board did separate them more in the House districts, they also paired one Eagle River House district with one Muldoon House district to form a Senate seat that became Republican enough to bump off Sen. Bettye Davis.

More Board Meetings For A Final Board Hickel Plan 

The Alaska Redistricting Board intends to hold a meeting at its Anchorage office on
July 5, 2013 at 11:00AM ,
July 6, 2013 at 10:00AM and
July 7, 2013 at 10:00AM,
July 8, 2013 ( time to be announced) J
July 9, 2013 (time to be announced)
July 10, 2013 (time to be announced),
July 11, 2013 (time to be announced) and
July 12, 2013 (time to be announced, to adopt a final Hickel Plan.

All board meetings will be teleconferenced at 1-855-463-5009 and streamed at AKL.TV .
The Board's schedule thereafter is dependent upon the status of Section 5 of the VRA, which will determine if the Board's adopted Hickel Plan becomes the new final plan or whether further changes must be made to balance Alaska constitutional requirements with the requirements of the VRA, in accordance with the Hickel Process.
And there you have it.  I'm sure that this is getting old for the Board.  If it was fun once, it isn't so much any more.  And you can see from the last paragraph in the email that they are looking forward to the US Supreme Court relieving them of the pre-clearance requirement.  (Except Board member Marie Green who has worked hard to preserve Alaska Native districts in compliance with the VRA.) 

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