A Fairbanks judge gave a stern rebuke to the Alaska Redistricting Board, saying in a decision Thursday that it was not worthy of the trust placed in it by the courts and accusing it of acting in a “dilatory” and “disingenuous” manner. Superior Court Judge Michael McConahy, the judge hearing challenges to the failed redistricting plan under which the 2012 election was held, said the board’s proposal to wait until August to begin crafting a new plan was unsatisfactory. He said the board had the computer power to draw new boundaries in a matter of days should it choose. “There is no reason to delay this process further,” he said.
As for whether the board should hold public hearings on a new plan, McConahy was even more blunt. “The Board contends it is not required to hold hearings,” McConahy wrote in his ruling. “It is wrong. Any argument that the hearings held in 2011 on plans that were found to be unconstitutional is inartful at best. At worst it is a sad commentary upon Alaskan life and constitutional principles.”
The board’s attorney, Michael White, declined to comment. Chairman John Torgerson, a former Republican state senator from Kasilof and one of two board members appointed by Gov. Sean Parnell, didn’t return messages left by telephone and email.
The board is directed by the Alaska Constitution to set new legislative boundaries after each 10-year census to account for population movements. Its original plan, completed in 2012, was declared by the Alaska Supreme Court to be unconstitutional but the 2012 election was held using those districts anyway because there wasn’t enough time for a new plan to be developed.
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