Alaska Redistricting Board meeting

Amanda Bohman/News-Miner

Jomo Stewart of Fairbanks checks out proposed political districts Monday, Oct. 18, 2021, during a meeting of the Alaska Redistricting Board.

New political boundary maps should show five House districts in the Fairbanks North Star Borough with a sixth breaking its boundaries, according to borough leaders.

A resolution “Providing Comments to the Alaska Redistricting Board Regarding Reapportionment of the Legislative Districts …” was approved by the assembly in a 6-2 vote on Thursday.

Leaders said anything less than six House districts would result in underrepresentation in the state Legislature.

“On the Senate side is where that would be most notable,” Borough Mayor Bryce Ward said.

Two maps under consideration were created by the redistricting board and four other maps in play were submitted by politicians and various organizations and interest groups.

Some maps show five House districts inside the borough, which others select an area of the municipality to be part of a large rural district.

The Alaska Redistricting Board, whose members were appointed by state leaders, is wrapping up a statewide tour gathering public comment on the maps.

New legislative districts must be drawn up to account for changes in the population in a constitutional process every 10 years.

The assembly rejected amendments criticizing particular maps in an effort to maintain a nonpartisan tone.

“We could sit here all night and tear every one of these apart,” Assemblywoman Tammie Wilson said.

The resolution sponsored by Mindy O’Neall, presiding officer of the assembly, states that the “Assembly of the Fairbanks North Star Borough supports a redistricting plan that maximizes the representation of Borough citizens by grouping the excess population as a whole into one district rather than overpopulating five districts and further requests contiguous and compact districts that keep communities of interest together.”

The assembly held that neighborhoods and subdivisions should not be divided into separate districts unnecessarily.

To view the proposed maps, view www.akredistrict.org.

Contact staff writer Amanda Bohman at 907-459-7545, at abohman@newsminer.com or follow her at twitter.com/FDNMborough.

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