Breaking: Supreme Court says Skagway redistricting stands; sends Eagle River Senate Seat K back for a rework


The Alaska Supreme Court upheld the redistricting plan for Skagway and Juneau, which pairs Skagway with the northern neighborhoods of Juneau, as well as Haines.

“We AFFIRM the superior court’s determination that the house districts comply with article VI, section 6 of the Alaska Constitution and should not otherwise be vacated due to procedural aspects of the Board’s work. We REVERSE the superior court’s remand to the Board for further proceedings under the superior court’s ‘hard look’ analysis relating to public comments on the house districts. There is no constitutional infirmity with House Districts 3 and 4 and no need for further work by the Board,” the Supreme Court said.

The Supreme Court also upheld almost all of the lines for the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, which has been paired with Valdez into a House district, with the exception of one carve-out called the Cantwell Appendage:

“The Matanuska-Susitna Borough and the City of Valdez separately challenge the superior court’s determination that House Districts 29, 30, and 36 do not violate article VI, section 6 of the Constitution and should not otherwise be vacated due to procedural aspects of the Board’s work. We AFFIRM the superior court’s determination, with one exception: We conclude that the so-called “Cantwell Appendage” violates article VI, section 6 of the Constitution. The Cantwell Appendage renders House District 36 non- compact without adequate justification. House District 36 reaches across a local borough boundary, within which voters are by law socio-economically integrated with other borough voters,7 to extract Cantwell residents from District 30 and place them in House District 36,” the court wrote.

But the court said the lines drawn for Senate Seat K, Eagle River, constituted gerrymandering, “violating equal protection under the Alaska Constitution, and we therefore AFFIRM the superior court’s remand to the Board to correct the constitutional error.”

The Senate Seat K area now includes a portion of Muldoon, and Democrats objected strenuously to having Muldoon linked with Eagle River.

Every 10 years the political boundaries are shifted to even out the population that is represented in the Alaska House and Senate. The redistricting process follows the completion of the U.S. Census, which was done late in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and was not made final until August of 2021, when the Alaska Redistricting Board took up the task of redrawing the House and Senate boundaries.

This story will be updated. The complete ruling is found here:


    • While the area has been combined before in an Anchorage-centered district, there’s problems with what you propose. For one, Portage is part of the Girdwood precinct and not a separate precinct. For another, Portage is part of the Municipality of Anchorage, while Whittier is part of the Unorganized Borough. If you re-read the story, you’ll see that the Supreme Court objected in part to unnecessarily dividing boroughs.

  1. The PEOPLE objected through PUBLIC TESTIMONY regarding the Muldoon/Eagle River boundary issue.

    The PEOPLE followed the public process in good faith.

    Melanie Bahnke and Nicole Borromeo vigorously adhered to their duty to the public, , just as the Republican majority appointees assert they did too.

    Both these women are not registered to ANY party; including The Democrat AND Republican party.

    This is a win for PEOPLE, not PARTY.

    • I already pointed out that Rep. Hopkins moved and no longer lives in the current District 36. Besides, per 2020 Census figures, the median population for determining a House district is 18,402, whereas the Supreme Court decision affects an area with a population of 200, or slightly more than one percent of the former figure. How exactly is that going to be a game-changer?

  2. What bothers me is they still talk about what they think happened between Republican board members but have absolute proof of a sitting Democrat Senator Tom Begich sending texts and not a word mentioned. We are never going anywhere with change in AK unless we change the Judicial Council. They truly are so political it is awful. You can’t even file a lawsuit against their decisions because their buddies on the bench give it to them every time.

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