It’s been about a month since the Alaska Supreme Court ruled that most recent Alaska redistricting plan failed to strike a balance between federal and state voting bloc requirements, and on Friday a Superior Court judge determined that the latest redistricting failed to meet requirements set forth in the Alaska Constitution. The Supreme Court in March ordered the Superior Court to re-evaluate the plan, which it said placed too much emphasis on the federal Voting Rights Act and not enough on the Alaska Constitution. Superior Court judge Michael McConahy made a similar finding Friday, saying that the plan failed to abide by what the court is calling “the Hickel process.”
Under that process, voter districts must be laid out first in compliance with the Alaska Constitution, then tested against the Voting Rights Act. Finding the balance is proving difficult for redistricting board, which must have some plan prior to the upcoming election cycle. In the event that doesn’t happen, the board will have to petition for the most recent plan to stand temporarily until a more permanent plan can be agreed upon. McConahy noted in his decision that this could be the reality of the situation for the 2012 election.