As of the 2020 U.S. Census, Alaska only has one at-large congressional district.
The Alaska Redistricting Board draws the state legislative districts. The politically appointed five-member board has primary responsibility for redistricting. The Governor appoints two members and the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House, and the Chief Justice of the Alaska Supreme Court each select one member. Commissioners must be residents of the state for at least one year and must not be public employees or officials during their appointment. Each of the state’s four judicial districts must be represented by at least one Commissioner.
The Redistricting Board must produce one or more proposed plans within 30 days of the release of the U.S. Census, or the appointment of the Board members, whichever is later. Public hearings will then be held on all plans proposed by the Board, and within 90 days of the board convening or the official reporting of the census, a final redistricting plan must be adopted by a majority of the members.
Challenges to the maps are litigated in the Superior Court of Alaska.
Source: Alaska Const. art. VI, §§ 8-11.
Previous Redistricting Cycles
- Commission’s Original Plans
- Passed = 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
- Passed = 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
- Passed = 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.
Ballot Measure Process
Kinds of Ballot Measures
Indirect initiatives and all referendums are permitted to amend statutes. Initiatives are not permitted to amend the state constitution. Legislatively initiated ballot measures may amend the Constitution, but not statutes.
There is a single-subject rule.
Initiative Subject Restrictions
No revenue measures, appropriations, acts affecting the judiciary, or any local or special legislation. Also, no laws affecting peace, health or safety.
100 preliminary signatures are required.
The signature requirement for statutory initiatives is 10% of all votes cast in the last general election, and 10% for veto referendums. 361,400 people voted in the 2020 General Election in Alaska, so 36,140 signatures are required for both statutory initiatives and veto referendums. A minimum of 7% of the total statewide signatures required must be collected in 30 of Alaska's 40 state house districts. District information can be found here.
Initiative petitions must be submitted prior to convening the Legislature in the year the petition is to appear on the ballot. Referendums must be submitted 90 days after the end of the legislative session.
The circulation period for initiative petitions is one year.
Ballot Title and Summary
The Ballot Title and Summary are written by the Lt. Governor with the help of the Attorney General. Expedited reviews for Titles and Summaries are permitted.
A fiscal impact statement is required. Circulators are required to be a citizen of the United States, at least 18 years old, and a resident of the state. 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.
Source: Alaska Const. art. XI. Alaska Stat. § 15.45 (2019). Alaska Division of Elections
In The News
- 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)