The committee in charge of redrawing Alaska’s legislative boundaries will have at least one draft plan ready by Sept. 11 and a final map by Nov. 10.
The five-member Alaska Redistricting Board set that schedule Monday during its first meeting since the Census Bureau published figures for Alaska’s 2020 population.
Under Alaska’s constitution, a five-member board must redraw the boundaries of Alaska’s 40 legislative districts after every census.
The result will last for 10 years, until the next census, and is politically fraught: Political parties, groups and individual legislators frequently worry that one map or another may disadvantage them.
Furthermore, until the map is complete, individual lawmakers and candidates for the 2022 statewide election won’t know which district they will represent.
Based on the latest figures and the rules set in place by the constitution and state law, each district will have 18,335 residents, plus or minus 5%.
To satisfy population changes since 2010, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough is expected to gain a legislative seat at the expense of Interior Alaska, Fairbanks and Anchorage, areas that lost population between 2010 and 2020.
The redistricting board, which has members appointed by the governor, Legislature and the chief justice of the Alaska Supreme Court, began its mapping work Monday afternoon by starting to divide the state into separate geographic regions — Interior, Southeast, Anchorage, etc.
Those regions will then be divided into individual districts.
As happened the last time the state redrew district boundaries, the board expects to submit multiple draft maps to the public, then collect feedback from across Alaska before voting in November on a final version.
In every redistricting process since 1970, that final version has been subject to a lawsuit and subsequent review by the Alaska Supreme Court.