Population Shifts May Mean Larger, Fewer Rural House Districts

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Maggie Wall/KMXT

There’s a political aspect to the new census numbers.

The release of the 2010 Census data starts the clock on the work of Alaska’s Redistricting Board. The board now has 60 days to complete its task of redrawing the state’s house district boundary lines based on new trends in population.

KMXT’s Maggie Wall has more:

–((Redistricting board 2:27 "Local real estate..redistricting board.SOC"))

Local real estate agent Bob Brodie is one of five members on the Alaska Redistricting Board.

Brodie says the board has hired staff and rented office space in the Sunshine Mall in downtown Anchorage and was getting ready to get down to work redrawing boundary lines for state house and senate.

–((Redistricting board :28 " And all this…status etc."))

Here’s how the formula works. You take the state’s population. Divide it by 40 house seats. And you get the number of people needed to create each new house district.

Then, two of those will equal one senate district.

Voters may recall being asked whether or not to increase the number of legislators. That ballot measure was shot down, so we work with the 40 seats in the house and 20 senate seats.

Ten years ago Alaska had roughly 600,000 people. That worked out to roughly 15,000 per house district, which worked well for Kodiak as it required this district to take on only a few more areas to get the requisite 15,000 people.

This year, with state population of 710,000, that means Kodiak’s house district will have rough 17,500 in it. Brodie says to make that number, Kodiak will have to "throw its net" around other, possibly farther communities.

There in lies the problem for Kodiak, which new areas will be included in our house district:

-((Redistricting board :22 "The question is…without its consequences."))

Bob Brodie, who serves on the 5 person Alaska Redistricting Board.

I’m Maggie Wall.

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