Redistricting lawsuit begins with dispute over Muldoon-Eagle River political nullification

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Friday’s Superior Court case over Alaska’s new political boundaries began with the proposed Muldoon-Eagle River divorce.

The lawsuit combines a number of challenges to Alaska’s newly redrawn political boundaries. Friday’s proceedings focused on the East Anchorage challenge, in which Democratic agents Felisa Wilson, George Martinez and Yarrow Silvers have their day in court challenging the combination of the populations of Eagle River and Muldoon into a single district of the Senate l.

The only constitutional requirement is that two House districts must touch to constitute a Senate district. Martinez and his co-challengers argue that the new map is diluting some people’s votes. But that argument is difficult for Martinez to make because there is no constitutional guideline that a Senate constituency must also be socioeconomically integrated.

There are also two boroughs that are suing because they don’t want to be associated with each other: the borough of Mat-Su and Valdez are asking for what is essentially a political marriage annulment that the redistricting board their gave.

The Skagways’ challenge to the council is that they have been forced to politically intermarry with northern Juneau – the areas of Mendenhall Valley, Auke Bay and Lena Beach, which are geographically closer to Skagway. The borough of Skagway says it wants to marry downtown Juneau because those people are more like the people of Skagway. Until Southeast Alaska’s population dwindled, this was not a problem because there were five districts in the Southeast, whereas now there are four.

Superior Court Judge Thomas Matthews said it would be an 11-day trial, with each of the five challenges getting a single day devoted to their dispute with the Alaska Redistricting Board’s final maps. The trial is being streamed online.

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