Alaska Redistricting Cases:  the 1990s

Hickel v. Southeast Conference, 846 P.2d 38 (Alaska 1992)

The Alaska Supreme Court found that the Governor's reapportionment plan for Southeast Alaska violated the antigerrymandering provisions of the Alaska Constitution by failing to observe existing municipal boundaries and ignoring natural geographic boundaries by splitting all of the major islands of the Alexander Archipelago. The Court reasoned that municipalities in the state are per se socioeconomic areas. The Court found that a desire to increase Native representation in a specific district did not justify departure from the antigerrymandering provisions.  A reapportionment plan may minimize the antigerrymandering provisions when minimization is the only means available to satisfy Voting Rights Act requirements.

The Court found that the Governor's plan for the Mat-Su Borough violated the antigerrymandering provisions when it divided up excess borough population among five other election districts.  The Court concluded that excess population should, to the maximum extent possible, be kept together and added to another socioeconomically and compact district.

The Court found that the Governor's plan violated the antigerrymandering provision by combining populations of Inupiaq and Athabaskan Natives in a single district.  The Court found that the combination of these tribal groups did not create a district that encompasses as nearly as practicable a relatively integrated socioeconomic area.

The Court found sua sponte that the division of the Aleutian Islands into two districts violates the antigerrymandering provisions.

The Court found that determination of the population base for redistricting purposes did not require  adjustment of the census population to delete nonresident military personnel if there was an adequate showing that it was not possible to accurately identify those military personnel who are nonresidents and that failure to adjust for military personnel  did not introduce an urban/ rural bias.

The Supreme Court directed the Superior Court to formulate an interim plan for the approaching general election.


 State Contacts
 
Terry Martin 
State Representative 
Session Address (January-May) 
State Capitol, Room 502 
Juneau, AK 99801-1182 
907/465-3783 voice 
907/276-2293 fax 
Interim Address (May-December) 
717 West 4th, Suite 650 
Anchorage, AK 99501 
907/258-8169 voice 
907/276-7442 fax 
representative_terry_martin@legis.state.ak.us 
John Manly 
 
Session Address (January-May) 
State Capitol, Room 502 
Juneau, AK 99801-1182 
907/465-3783 voice 
907/276-2293 fax 
Interim Address (May-December) 
717 West 4th, Suite 650 
Anchorage, AK 99501 
907/258-8169 voice 
907/276-7442 fax 
John_Manly@legis.state.ak.us