Election ‘Redistricting’ in New Jersey & Why it Matters
This is one of the most important events that happens ever 10 years in the state of New Jersey; that most people don’t care the first thing about?
It’s called Redistricting.
This is done in direct concert with the Constitutionally required national census every 10 years.
NOTE: The state Redistricting process is separate and apart from the national Congressional Redistricting; yet, both are very important and both are inexorably linked.
The New Jersey state Republicans and Democrats each draw-up their own proposal.
In the final decision-making process, it most always ends in a tie vote. So, they have a tie-breaker system that the majority party gets to control.
It’s usually a retired New Jersey Judge who makes the final call. It’s supposed to be a neutral process … but, the whole thing is very political in nature.
The ultimate tie-breaking decision always appears to go the way of the majority political party. There’s no coincidence here.
Here’s why Redistricting matters:
There are 40 Districts in the state of New Jersey. Once each decade, both major political parties get together and draw-up what’s affectionately referred to as a “map.”
Make no mistake about it, each side is trying to get an advantage over the other.
Nationally, it’s called “Gerrymandering.” This is done when the political potentates want to get rid of a member, who otherwise would likely be re-elected in their current district.
They also make similar moves to advantage their own electoral fortunes. They purposely change the composition of a district(s) to try and gain more seats for their political party. It’s all about control.
They move a particular city or cities around and change the composition of a District(s) in order to try and accomplish their political goal.
They want you to not pay attention to what they’re doing right under your nose. Yes, they work their mischievous, political skullduggery right in broad daylight.
Powerful elected officials can have a great deal of influence in this age old New Jersey right of passage.
As New Jersey “inside baseball” political folklore tells it:
- Former Senator Bill Gormley succeeded in having Hammonton removed from Atlantic County’s District 2 many years ago. Hammonton had turned politically against Gormley. Gormley was skillful and effective at lining things up.
- Former State Senator Jim Whelan had Galloway Township moved away from District 2 for the same reason.
- Political moves like this only affect state level races. Hammonton and Galloway Township remain in all county level and Congressional races.
- Hammonton and Galloway are both very strong Republican towns. For now, moving them out of District 2 has benefited Atlantic County Democrats substantially in state level races.
Just look at the recent November 2, 2021 results. If Hammonton and Galloway had been within the District 2 Senate and Assembly races (and, they should be); Senator Vince Polistina and Assembly Members-elect Claire Swift and Don Guardian would have won by 3,500 more votes each over their Democrat opponents, Vince Mazzeo, John Armato and Caren Fitzpatrick.
Because of COVID-19, the Redistricting process has been delayed. New Jersey voters amended the state Constitution in the 2020 vote-by-mail Zombie election and most people probably don’t realize this, either.
The Congressional map is due in January, 2022, but, delays have resulted in the existing New Jersey map remaining in effect until 2023.
The point that I’m trying to make is that the every 10-year Redistricting process is extremely important. It can directly affect which candidates win and lose.
The second of five public hearings will be held tomorrow, by the New Jersey state Legislative Apportionment Committee on Tuesday, November 16, 2020 at 12:00 noon at Stockton University’s Atlantic City’s campus.
You can watch tomorrow’s hearing via livestream at njleg.state.nj.us/.
Few will watch. But, it is still such an important process.
NOTE: The Apportionment Commission commission will also hold public hearings on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021 at 6:00 p.m., a (virtual hearing), Wednesday, December 8, 2021 at 12:00 noon (virtual hearing) and Friday, December 10, 2021 at 10:00 a.m., an in-person meeting to be held at the Statehouse in Trenton, New Jersey,
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