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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Election Chaos Puts Ketchikan in Political Peril
By John Harrington


July 14, 2012

The on-again, off-again State election district boundaries have created disarray and political danger particularly for Ketchikan.

On June 27th, the U.S. Justice Department approved boundaries for use in the 2012 election for members of the Alaska State Senate and State House. Normally, election district boundaries are cast in stone for 10 years. However, that is far from the case here.

As things now stand, Ketchikan voters could actually elect a Representative who lives in Wrangell only to find shortly after the 2012 election that the district boundaries have been redrawn yet again but with Ketchikan and Wrangell in different districts.

The prospect of such chaos is not idle speculation. In fact, the latest proposal of the Alaska Redistricting Board places Ketchikan with Metlakatla and Craig, not Wrangell.

Moreover, half of the sitting justices of the Supreme Court favored the plan that puts Ketchikan and Wrangell in different districts. A retired judge sitting in the fifth vacant seat on the Supreme Court cast the deciding vote that put in place for the 2012 elections a temporary plan pairing Ketchikan and Wrangell.

The prospect that Ketchikan and Wrangell will be in different districts after the 2012 election is not just possible it seems probable.

Serious danger lies in the potential that Ketchikan will be stuck with a Representative who would be looking after the interests not of Ketchikan, but of those communities within election district boundaries to be used in the next election. Truly, this would be a case of representation without representation.

What a mess!

John Harrington
Ketchikan, AK


About: "I am just another politically active local, who is aghast at screwed up the federal government can make things."

Received July 13, 2012 - Published July 14, 2012



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