The Matanuska-Susitna Borough (MSB) filed a complaint in court Thursday against the Alaska State Redistricting Board over their Final Redistricting Plan. The five-member Board is charged with reapportioning the Alaska House of Representatives based on the official reporting of census data that occurs every 10 years, which in this this case, was 2020.
The Mat-Su Borough has consistently grown for over 40 years, with growth likely to continue into the foreseeable future. During the 2010-2020 census cycle, the Borough gained over 18,000 people, representing 78% of the entire State increase in population. In contrast, Anchorage decreased by 579 people, just behind Fairbanks, but according to the complaint, the State Redistricting Board seemed to have ignored these facts and others when determining what to include with-in the Mat-Su Borough boundaries and what not to include.
Ideally, a House District in the State of Alaska should have 18,335 residents. Based on the Mat-Su Borough’s population of 107,081, the Borough should have almost 6 full House Seats (5.84). The Board’s plan has the Mat-Su Borough House Districts overpopulated by a combined total of 2,521 people, a nearly +14% overall deviation, which lowers the effective vote of every single voter in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. By way of comparison, in Anchorage, all but 2 House Districts are underpopulated, resulting in a combined total of -1,837 people, a -10% deviation.
“In the Board’s plan, only 7 House Districts in the entire State have over a 2% deviation. 5 of those are within the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. The MSB draft plan and other draft plans submitted to the Redistricting Board demonstrate how there are more equitable and reasonable options to look at and we hope the court agrees.” Says Borough Manager, Mike Brown
If the court rules in favor of the Mat-Su Borough, declaring the Board’s Final Redistricting Plan violates the United States/Alaska Constitutions, the court will remand the Final Redistricting Plan to the Board for development of a new plan.