Federal judge to hear redistricting suit

A federal judge in Anchorage is scheduled to consider whether to temporarily bar state election officials from implementing a new redistricting plan.

A hearing is scheduled for this morning before U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason.

The plaintiffs say the state is violating the federal voting rights act by moving ahead with election preparations under the plan before it is approved by the U.S. Justice Department.

They have also requested that a three-judge panel hear their case and block the state from using the plan until it wins so-called preclearance from Justice.

Attorneys for the state contend the plaintiffs have not justified their request.

The plaintiffs include Russell S. Nelson, who had filed as a candidate for the state House before the lawsuit was filed but has since withdrawn his candidacy.