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Alaska Beat

Court won't yet consider Alaska's challenge to Voting Rights Act

  • Author: Craig Medred
  • Updated: September 27, 2016
  • Published June 26, 2012

A panel of federal judges on Tuesday said that it would not consider the state's constitutional challenge to a key section of the Voting Rights Act during oral arguments over Alaska's latest attempt to redraw legislative districts.

The Department of Law announced Friday that it believed Alaska was unconstitutionally required to submit electoral changes to the federal government in a process known as preclearance. Attorney General Michael Geraghty and Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell issued a press release accusing the Feds of micromanaging Alaska's elections.

The U.S. District Court for Alaska outlined four questions to be considered in Thursday's redistricting oral arguments. Until the U.S. Attorney General weighs in on the constitutional challenge, Alaska can't use it as a defense.

Margaret Paton Walsh, an assistant attorney general for Alaska, said Tuesday the state was concerned about the court order, and that the state should be entitled to raise the validity of federal preclearance as a defense.

She added that the state was evaluating the order and how to respond.

The Native American Rights Fund contested the state's constitutional challenge.

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