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Here’s how a town’s population can be different for congressional and legislative redistricting

By David Wildstein, July 22 2021 12:01 am

Unless Gov. Phil Murphy signs a bill currently on his desk, congressional and legislative maps will be drawn using different municipal population numbers.

The U.S. Census Bureau is expected to transmit municipal population data to the state on August 16, but the New Jersey Secretary of State will need to jigger those numbers before redistricting begins based on where inmates in state correctional facilities used to live.

Inmates are counted as residents of the municipality where they are incarcerated by the U.S. Census.  That means the state will take the municipal population numbers and adjust them to reflect changes.

Under a new law passed earlier this year, incarcerated people will now be counted in their home communities and not in the municipality where their correctional facility is located for the purpose of legislative redistricting.

Murphy has not yet acted on a similar bill approved by the legislature last month that would apply the same rules to congressional redistricting, municipal wards, county commissioner districts and regional school board members.

But Murphy has supported ending prison gerrymandering in the past, but hasn’t indicated his support of the newest legislation.

The Department of Corrections told the New Jersey Globe last month that the data collection for the adjusting population totals would be ready before the U.S. Census releases their detailed data.

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