The Anchorage Assembly amended the boundaries of the municipality’s redistricting plan at their regular meeting Tuesday night. The change moves voters into the downtown precinct and decrease the variation between districts.
Assembly member Patrick Flynn represents downtown Anchorage. He pushed for the amendment to the redistricting plan because he says he was concerned about the lack of public process during its development and variances between districts that could impact the voting rights of minorities.
“The issue is variances between district populations, and by cutting the North Airport Heights precinct in half you get the variances down to about 2.5 percent,” Flynn said. “When Penland Park was in the midtown district the variance was closer to 8.3 percent.”
Penland Park is a large mobile home park in the Airport Heights neighborhood. The plan moves it from the midtown precinct back to the downtown one. Two weeks ago an “ad hoc” committee of three assembly members presented several plans to the body which they had drawn up in private meetings that were not publicly noticed. Assembly members selected a plan, but some community leaders questioned it and said it could have been developed in illegal meetings. The Assembly must submit the plan to the U.S. Department of Justice for approval before an April election. Officials say they anticipate a vote on the revised plan at their Dec. 18 meeting. There will be an opportunity for public comment.