As of the 2020 Census, Alaska has only one at-large congressional district.
Primary Authority: Legislative plans are drawn and adopted by the Alaska Redistricting Board, a politically appointed 5-member body.
- Members: The Governor appoints 2 members and the President of the Alaska Senate, the Speaker of the Alaska House of Representatives, and the Chief Justice of the Alaska Supreme Court each appoint 1 member. [Alaska Const. art. VI, § 8]
- Timing: Appointments must be made by September 1 of the year in which the decennial census is taken. [Alaska Const. art. VI, § 8]
- Eligibility: Members must be Alaska residents for at least one year and at least one member must reside in each of the state's judicial district that existed on January 1, 1999. Members may not be public employees or officials at the time of or during the tenure of appointment. Appointments are made without regard to political affiliation. Members cannot be candidates for the legislature in the general election following the adoption of the final redistricting plan. [Alaska Const. art. VI, § 8]
- Voting: Concurrence of three members required for Board actions, including the adoption of a final plan. [Alaska Const. art. VI, §§ 9, 10]
Mapping Timeline: The Board must adopt one or more proposed redistricting plans within 30 days of the official reporting of the decennial census or 30 days of being appointed, whichever occurs last. Public hearings must be held on all proposed plans. The Board must adopt a final redistricting plan and issue a proclamation of redistricting no later than 90 days after members were appointed and the official reporting of the decennial census. Mid-decade redistricting is expressly prohibited. [Alaska Const. art. VI, § 10]
- State Senate: Composed as nearly as practicable of two contiguous House districts; May consider local government boundaries. [Alaska Const. art. VI, § 6]
- State House: Contiguous; Compact; Contain as nearly as practicable a relatively integrated socio-economic area. [Alaska Const. art. VI, § 6]
Map Challenges: Challenges must be filed in the Alaska Superior Court and appeals go directly to the Alaska Supreme Court. Any qualified voter can petition the Superior Court to compel the Board to perform its duties or correct any error in a redistricting plan. Applications to compel the Board to perform a duty must be filed no later than 30 days after the expiration of the 90-day period for adopting a final plan. Applications to compel correction of any error in a redistricting plan must be filed within 30 days of the adoption and proclamation of the final plan. If a final decision declares a plan invalid, the matter must be returned to the Board for correction and development of a new plan. If that new plan is declared invalid, the matter may be referred to the Board again. [Alaska Const. art. VI, § 11]
Ballot Measure & Referendum Processes
Types of Measures: Indirect initiatives and referendums are permitted to amend statutes. Initiatives may not amend the state constitution. Legislatively initiated ballot measures may amend the state constitution, but not statutes.
Single-Subject Rule: Yes.
Initiative Subject Restrictions: No revenue measures; appropriations; acts affecting the judiciary; local or special legislation; or laws affecting peace, health, or safety.
Signature Requirements: 100 preliminary signatures are required. The signature requirements for both statutory initiatives and referendums is 10% of all votes cast in the last general election. Signatures must come from residents in at least 3/4 of Alaska's state House districts, including at least 7% of the total votes cast in each of those state House districts during the preceding general election. 267,047 people voted in the 2022 General Election in Alaska, so 26,705 signatures are required for both statutory initiatives and referendums. District information can be found here.
Submission Deadlines: Initiative petitions must be submitted prior to the Legislature’s convening in the year the petition is to appear on the ballot. Referendums must be submitted within 90 days of the adjournment of the legislative session.
Circulation Period: The circulation period for initiative petitions is one year.
Ballot Title and Summary: Both are written by the Lieutenant Government with help from the Attorney General. Expedited reviews for titles and summaries are permitted.
Other Requirements: A fiscal impact statement is required. Circulators must be United States citizens, at least 18 years old, and an Alaska resident. There are no supermajority requirements. The legislature cannot repeal an approved measure until two years have passed since its approval. Measures can be amended without time restrictions through a majority vote. Appropriations cannot be repealed. Initiatives are permitted on general, primary, and special election ballots, but not on odd-year ballots.
[Alaska Const. art. XI; Alaska Stat. §§ 15.45.010 — 15.45.465; Alaska Admin. Code tit. 6, § 25.240; Alaska Division of Elections]
Previous Redistricting Cycles
- Commission’s Original Plans
- Adopted = June 13, 2011
- Preclearance = Granted on October 11, 2011
- Litigation History
- In re 2011 Redistricting Cases, 274 P.3d 466 (Alaska 2012): On March 14, 2012, the Alaska Supreme Court struck down the Commission’s original legislative plans on the grounds the Commission failed to follow its precedent mandating that the state prioritize the Alaska Constitution’s redistricting criteria before considering the plan’s compliance with the Voting Rights Act.
- In re 2011 Redistricting Cases II, No. S-14721 (Alaska June 19, 2012): After a state trial court initially rejected the Commission’s amended legislative plans, the Alaska Supreme Court reversed on May 22, 2012, and approved the April 5, 2012 plans for interim use in the 2012 elections, citing concerns that an updated plan would not be able to secure preclearance in time for the 2012 elections.
- In re 2011 Redistricting Cases III, No. 6741 (Alaska Dec. 28, 2012): On December 28, 2012, the Alaska Supreme Court rejected the April 5, 2012 plans, again citing the Commission’s failure to adhere to the redistricting considerations and process laid out in its precedent and ordered the plans be redrawn.
- Commission’s Original Plans
- Adopted = June 18, 2001
- Preclearance = Granted on October 1, 2001
- Litigation History
- In re 2001 Redistricting Cases, 44 P.3d 141 (Alaska 2002): On March 21, 2002, the Alaska Supreme Court struck down several portions of the Commission’s original legislative plans on the grounds certain districts were not sufficiently compact, violated equal protection principles, or contained unjustifiable population deviations in violation of the one person, one vote constitutional requirement.
- Commission’s Amended Plans
- Adopted = April 25, 2002
- Preclearance = Granted on June 11, 2002
- In re 2001 Redistricting Cases II, 47 P.3d 1089 (Alaska 2002): On May 24, 2002, the Alaska Supreme Court affirmed the superior court’s ruling approving the Commission’s amended legislative plans that were enacted April 25, 2002.
In The News
- Alaska Supreme Court Decides, and Gerrymanders for Democrats, Must Read Alaska (4/22/23)
- Alaska Supreme Court, in Landmark Ruling, Says Partisan Gerrymandering Violates State Constitution, Anchorage Daily News (4/22/23)
- Alaska Supreme Court Orders Use of Interim Map for Elections, AP (5/24/22)
- Alaska Judge Orders Board to Adopt Interim Redistricting Map, AP (5/17/22)
- Judge Sets May 3 Deadline for Alaska Redistricting Claims, AP (4/28/22)
- New Legal Filing Challenges Alaska’s Redistricting Plan, AP (4/19/22)
- Alaska Redistricting Board Links South Anchorage and South Eagle River in Senate, Reviving Accusations of Gerrymandering, Anchorage Daily News (4/13/22)
- Alaska High Court Finds Senate District Unconstitutional, AP (3/25/22)
- Judge Raises Constitutional Issues with Parts of Alaska Map, AP (2/17/22)
- 3 More Lawsuits Filed Against Alaska’s New Legislative Redistricting Plan, Anchorage Daily News (12/10/21)
- Alaska Redistricting Board Finishes Work to Adopt Maps; Opponents Say Courts Could Toss Out Portions, Alaska Public Media (11/11/21)
- Alaska Redistricting Board Approves New Political Borders, but Legal Challenges are Expected, Anchorage Daily News (11/6/21)
- Alaska Redistricting Board Approves Proposed Redistricting Plans, Alaska Native News (9/21/21)
- Redistricting Board Draws 2 Proposals for Alaska’s New Legislative Boundaries, Anchorage Daily News (9/10/21)
- Alaska Census Counting Comes to an Early End, with a Stark Divide in Rural and Urban Response Rates, Alaska Public Media (10/15/20)
- Census Bureau Claims Nearly all Alaska Households have been Counted, KTOO (10/9/20)
- Rural Census Workers Rush to Meet Shortened Deadline, Alaska Public Media (9/3/20)
- Unalaska Enumerators Set to Finish Census Count by September 1, KUCB (8/21/20)
- Redistricting Board Finalized as Chief Justice Appoints Nome Nonprofit CEO Bahnke, KTOO (8/7/20)
- Speaker Edgmon's Pick for Redistricting Board is Young Hardline Anti-Dunleavy, Must Read Alaska (7/30/20)
- Gov. Dunleavy Picks 2 Republicans to Help Rewrite Alaska's Political Boundaries, Anchorage Daily News (7/29/20)
- US Census workers to restart Alaska door-to-door canvassing, AP (5/6/20)
- More states to use redistricting reforms after 2020 census, AP (3/5/20)
- At 90, Alaska Native woman is 1st counted in US Census, AP (1/21/20)