After being sent back to the drawing board by the Alaska Supreme Court last winter, the Alaska Redistricting Board released a new plan this week that did away with some creative groupings, especially for southeast Alaska. The board plans to vote on the plan on Sunday. Under the past plan, new lines were created for House Districts 36 and 37 of Southwest Alaska. House District 36, represented by Bryce Edgmon of Dillingham, stretched from the western coast of Cook Inlet, across the Illiamna Lake region to Bristol Bay, then north into the Yukon and Kuskokwim area. Edgmon no longer represented the Alaska Peninsula or the Aleutian, Shumagin, and Pribilof Islands communities — which were in House District 37.
Under the most recent proposed plan, House Disrict 37 will cover a large swath of Southwest Alaska, including the Alaska Peninsula, Dillingham and beyond McGrath to the north. The boundary between House District 37 and 38 will lie between Togiak and Goodnews Bay.
Kodiak, along with some areas on the west of the Cook Inlet, will be part of House District 32.
Until recently, the Alaska Redistricting Board was contending with both state and federal mandates, but a recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court deeming part of the federal Voting Rights Act unconstitutional freed Alaska from federal oversight of its voting districts, at least temporarily. Alaska was one of a handful of states required by law to submit to federal oversight of its voting practices because of past findings that Alaska Native voter rights were infringed upon with the use of English language tests to determine voter eligibility.