State of Alaska

Alaska Legislative Redistricting Challenge (Matanuska-Susitna Borough)

Matanuska-Susitna Borough v. Alaska Redistricting Board

Lawsuit brought by Matanuska-Susitna Borough and a voter challenging Alaska’s newly-drawn state House districts following the release of 2020 census data. The plaintiffs claim that the maps, approved by the Alaska Redistricting Board, do not properly represent the borough’s population growth over the past decade and violate the Alaska and U.S. Constitutions. The lawsuit argues that every state House district within the borough is overpopulated as compared to the rest of Alaska’s House districts and, therefore, the votes of Matanuska-Susitna Borough are diluted. The lawsuit asks the court to declare the map invalid and order the creation of a new House district map. The case was consolidated with four other lawsuits challenging the new legislative districts. After a trial was held, the court determined that there were deficiencies with the new legislative map, including that certain distinct communities were unnecessarily grouped together and the Board did not follow public testimony and hearing guidelines in violation of the Alaska Constitution, and remanded it to the Board to address the issues. Four of the parties appealed this decision to the Alaska Supreme Court, which affirmed the lower court’s decision in part and reversed the conclusion regarding three state House districts. The cases were remanded back to the trial court for further proceedings.

Upon remand, the trial court ordered the Alaska Redistricting Board to submit an amended redistricting plan in compliance with the state Supreme Court’s order. The Board’s amended plan was subsequently challenged by the plaintiffs. Specifically, the Girdwood plaintiffs alleged that the Board’s amended plan violated Alaskans’ right to equal protection and redistricting criteria under the Alaska Constitution. The Superior Court ultimately agreed with the plaintiffs that the Board’s amended plan was an “unconstitutional political gerrymander” and ordered the Board to adopt a second amended plan as an interim map for the 2022 election cycle. The Board appealed the Superior Court’s decision to the state Supreme Court, which affirmed the Superior Court’s decision. The second amended plan is in place as an interim plan for the state’s 2022 legislative elections.

Case Documents (trial court)

Case Documents (AK Supreme Court)

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