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Redistricting is once in a decade. It's time to get involved.

Fairbanksans have an opportunity to contribute to the shape of Alaska’s legislative districts that will be in place until 2032.

The Alaska Redistricting Board will host a town hall-style meeting from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Monday at the Carlson Center, 2010 Second Ave., to hear public input about six proposed redistricting plans — two created by the board itself and four put forward by interested groups. If you cannot attend the town hall on Monday, the board will take testimony in written form on its website at www.akredistrict.org or by writing to testimony@akredistrict.org. If you prefer to give testimony by phone, you can call 844-586-9085 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 20. The redistricting board has a deadline of Nov. 10 to create the plan that will be adopted to shape our Legislature for the next decade.

To learn about the six proposed plans, go to the Alaska Redistricting Board’s website at www.akredistrict.org and look for the map gallery. Locate your location on the maps and see what each plan will mean for you. Next look at the plans for the borough as a whole, and then take a look at the whole state. If you would like more background on the mapping process, you can view a recorded Meet the Maps program, a recorded program conducted by a redistricting board staff member at bit.ly/2YQtzw3.

Although the League of Women Voters doesn’t support any one map, we do advocate for citizen input in this once-a-decade process. In that spirit, we urge Fairbanks to look carefully at the Alaska Redistricting Board’s Version 3 maps for the borough. You will be looking at districts 31-35 on that map. You will notice that there are only five districts for our area. Even though our borough is entitled by 2020 Census figures to 5.22 House districts, the board has chosen to squeeze our entire population into only five districts. One of the four criteria for Alaska redistricting is equality of population. For 2021, the target population for each district is 18,335. This criteria honors the idea of one person, one vote. By allowing an over 4% excess for all five proposed Fairbanks districts, the plan devalues the vote of individual Fairbanksans.

If you look at the charts called Deviation Tables, you will see that this overpopulation of our districts in Version 3 is far out of line with all the other districts in the plan. In fact, none of the other five plans, including the Board’s Version 4, have this degree of overpopulation for more than one district, so it is possible to come closer to the ideal target of 18,335 people per district for our population and to honor the one person, one vote goal more precisely.

Pick the redistricting plan that you think is best, and let the board hear from you, but be sure to let them know that Fairbanks deserves more equitable treatment than the Board offers in Version 3.

All of the plans have been considering adjustments based on public testimony. Your input can make a difference.

Sue Sherif is president of the League of Women Voters of the Tanana Valley.

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