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Anchorage Reapportionment Committee in midst of voting district revision process

Published: Jan. 6, 2022 at 6:41 PM AKST|Updated: Jan. 6, 2022 at 7:37 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Every 10 years after updated U.S. census data, the Anchorage municipal government takes a look at its voting districts, and this year there are some big changes coming because of a decision made by the voters.

In 2020, Anchorage voters decided to amend the city charter to add a 12th assembly seat so that each district would have two assembly representatives, but to accommodate that the Anchorage Assembly has to draw up a new map. The assembly has six months to come up with final revised district boundaries after starting the process in November, with plans to finish in March.

The assembly asked Resource Data Inc, which assembly Vice Chair Chris Constant said they have worked with before, to draw up redistricted map ideas.

“The committee will make recommendations of a proposed planned map, that map will be forwarded to the assembly, members will hear from the public, we will have a public hearing, we will have a second public hearing and then we’ll move to adopt to update the plan maps,” Constant said.

The Anchorage Reapportionment Committee is tasked with making recommendations for the revised district map, to ensure fair representation of residents. The committee wants to send one map to the assembly to be voted on, but assembly member Crystal Kennedy proposed bringing three maps forward for the assembly to give them flexibility.

“It might actually be better for us to just basically make a recommendation of our top three, for instance, and then when it comes down to actually voting, then it would be simple majority rules kind of a vote,” Kennedy said.

This idea was voted down 5-1 by members of the committee, keeping with the original plan of one map. Assembly member Pete Petersen wants to make sure that the district lines are not changed too much.

“When we’re drawing these maps, I think the principle we need to keep in mind is to try to change them from the current districts as little as we can, because the voters are used to being in their current districts for a decade now and there’s gonna be resistance from some of them to want to be moved to a different district,” Petersen said.

A copy of five draft map options is available for the public to view on the committee’s website.

The assembly will be holding two public hearings in late February and early March. The new map will not make it in time for this upcoming April election, but subsequent elections will use the new map and districts.

For more information on the reapportionment or wanting to submit ideas for public comment, visit the committee website.

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