Anchorage Assembly launches reapportionment, adding 12th seat

In case you haven’t got your fill of election district mapping, the Anchorage Assembly announced its own plan to redraw its election districts and add a 12th seat as was approved by voters in the last municipal election.

The city’s reapportionment process follows the finalization of the Alaska Redistricting Board’s maps earlier this month and will gather public input, review of the state’s plan and generate their own plan for six election districts that will determine the bounds of the Anchorage Assembly seats.

Given the timing with the U.S. Census’ late completion, the final election district plan for Anchorage will not be in place in time for the city’s April 2022 elections.

Once it is in place, though, the new maps will bring some significant changes to the Anchorage Assembly. That’s because each of the city’s six assembly districts will now have two assemblymembers following voter approval of a plan to add a 12th seat to the board. Previously, the downtown district had only a single seat under a since-abandoned proposal that would’ve seen the single-seat district move around. That downtown district is currently only represented by Assemblymember Christopher Constant, who is also serving as the Reapportionment Committee’s chair.

“Now that the state has completed their redistricting process, we can begin our municipal reapportionment,” Constant said in the news release. “This is an important part of our elections process and our committee is looking forward to working with the community to develop fair and equal representation in the new district maps.”

The Assembly Reapportionment Committee is a four-member panel with members Constant, Pete Peterson, Austin Quinn-Davidson and Crystal Kennedy.

The process, according to a fact sheet distributed by the assembly, will roughly follow the bounds laid out in the state’s redistricting process. Districts must be compact, contiguous and relatively socioeconomically integrated. They also must, as closely as possible, stick to an ideal population with no district having more than 10% deviation from an ideal district and anything above 5% “must have a compelling reason.” Dilution of minority voters would also go against federal law.

According to the U.S. Census, the municipality of Anchorage has 291,247 residents. That would make the ideal assembly district population 48,541, which would make them quite a bit larger than ideal Senate district in the Alaska Legislature (36,670).

The schedule calls for a busy January with a pair of town halls and several other meetings. The final plan is scheduled to be considered for adoption at the Assembly’s first meeting on March 1. It would

  • Nov 23           Committee Meeting: timeline and communications review
  • Nov 23           Assembly Meeting: declaration of Malapportionment AR/AM
  • Dec 9              Committee Meeting: draft plans are presented as available
  • Jan 6              Committee Meeting: review draft plans and prepare for Town Hall
  • Jan 10            Deadline for submission of third-party maps
  • Jan 12            Town Hall
  • Jan 13            Town Hall
  • Jan 14            Committee Meeting: review Town Hall feedback
  • Jan 20            Committee Meeting: finalize plan for Assembly introduction
  • Jan 21            Agenda deadline to submit for introduction at Feb 1 meeting
  • Feb 1              Assembly Meeting: introduce final plan
  • Feb 11            Work session
  • Feb 15            Assembly Meeting: 1st public hearing
  • March 1          Assembly Meeting: 2nd public hearing, deliberation and adoption of plan

For more information on the city’s reapportionment process and how to offer input, find the committee’s website here.

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