The Alaska Redistricting Board plans to appeal a judge’s rejection of its second stab at redrawing the state’s legislative boundaries. Executive Director Taylor Bickford also said Tuesday that the board plans to ask the Alaska Supreme Court to approve the new plan. As a backup, he said the board authorized its attorneys to draft a petition seeking to use its first plan for this year’s elections. Chairman John Torgerson would decide when any petition would be filed. The high court allowed for that option earlier this year when it sent the first plan back to the board for additional work. The court said that if the board couldn’t draft a plan that complies with its order in time for this year’s elections, it could petition to have the elections conducted under the plan as an interim plan.
The candidate filing deadline is June 1, and Bickford said it’s a virtual certainty – barring a win by the board on its upcoming appeal – that it will seek to have elections conducted this year under the first plan. That is the plan that prompted the legal challenges and wrangling that has led to this point. In February, Superior Court Judge Michael McConahy found that four House districts in the initial plan – three in the Fairbanks area and one in the Aleutian chain – were unconstitutional as drawn. Both the board and plaintiffs, two Fairbanks-area residents, made at least partial appeals to the Alaska Supreme Court.