Current New Jersey Redistricting Reform Proposals Do Nothing for Latinx Political Strength
CONTACT: Christiaan Perez, [email protected] , 212-739-7581
Below is a statement by Juan Cartagena, President and General Counsel, regarding the redistricting proposal in New Jersey
Trenton is all aflutter over its independent redistricting commission. Who gets to sit, who decides on the tie-breaking appointment, and how do recent statewide vote tallies shape the districts the commission can devise, especially since the Democrats are on a roll in the State, are all in the mix of two legislative proposals placed on the fast track (SCR 43 and ACR 60). From a New Jersey Latinx perspective all of this distracts from the real impediments to more political power in Trenton: the insistence in New Jersey on jealously guarding the sanctity of 40 legislative districts electing one senator and two assembly members.They are called multi-member districts and they are disfavored under the Voting Rights Act.
So if you want to really reform redistricting in the Garden State let the Commission do two things: draw 80 independent Assembly districts with no requirement that they mirror Senate districts; and let them draw all districts with no requirement that they must keep municipal boundaries intact. Smaller legislative districts always provide more opportunities to emerging and growing communities. It’s time for New Jersey to level the playing field and provide for more representational opportunities for the State’s growing people of color communities.