A bipartisan agreement on New Jersey legislative redistricting

February 23, 2022 by Sam Wang

Last Friday at the State House in Trenton, after a week of tough but civil negotiations between the five Republican and five Democratic members of the New Jersey Legislative Apportionment Commission, the Commission adopted a new legislative map with a bipartisan vote of 9 to 2. Negotiations were led by Commission Co-Chairs LeRoy J. Jones, Jr. [D] and Al Barlas [R] and shepherded by Judge Philip S. Carchman, the appointed eleventh member of the Commission, Affirmative votes came from four Democrats, four Republicans, and Judge Carchman. And the Electoral Innovation Lab helped.

The 11th commissioner, retired judge Philip Carchman, was selected by the state Supreme Court to act as tiebreaker, which had been necessary in past years. Judge Carchman was assisted by the Electoral Innovation Lab. Legal analyst Richard F. Ober, Jr., post-doctoral research associate Jesse T. Clark , and I were on-site for negotiations. Judge Carchman said, “Sam is a true nonpartisan who helped us immeasurably in his work and his analysis. His team…and the folks back at the mothership at Princeton University were punching in the numbers and giving us information.” Staff of the Princeton Gerrymandering Project, a major activity of the Electoral Innovation Lab, provided map and data analytics, as well as indexing communities of interest information. Most community maps were created and submitted through Representable™, another affiliate of the Electoral Innovation Lab.

For the next ten years, New Jersey’s 40 Senators and 80 Assemblypersons will be elected from the new districts. The approved plan is the first bipartisan legislative map ever adopted by the Apportionment Commission. The Commission held 11 hearings where public testimony was taken and written submissions accepted. Over 200 witnesses provided information, and the Commission received over 100 community maps advocating on behalf of over 40 ethnic, religious, geographic, cultural and economic communities of interest. During deliberations, preliminary maps were publicly released by both parties for public comment, another historic first.

The Lab also assisted the Congressional Redistricting Commission in December 2021. Redistricting for New Jersey is now complete. The new legislative map is available here.

One Comment

538_Refugee says:

Meanwhile in other news:

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Asked to explain why the Ohio Supreme Court shouldn’t punish them for failing to pass state legislative maps late last week, majority Republicans on the Ohio Redistricting Commission pointed fingers at each other Wednesday, saying in court filings that none of them could pass a map on their own.

Gov. Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Frank LaRose and state Auditor Keith Faber said they lacked mapmaking software and expertise since the Republican legislative leaders on the commission — House Speaker Bob Cupp and Senate President Matt Huffman — control their budgets and employ Republicans’ mapmaking experts.


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