Home>Highlight>Statements on the legislative redistricting plan (Updated 7/7)

Statements on the legislative redistricting plan (Updated 7/7)

By David Wildstein, July 06 2020 8:38 pm

Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr.

“This isn’t the first time Democrats have attempted to disenfranchise New Jersey voters. I don’t think anybody is surprised by this. This has become a pattern now as they hide behind cover and attempt to manipulate elections to their advantage.”

“They tried to do an end run during the Christmas season in 2018. Now, when they think everyone is distracted by COVID, they yet again want to take advantage of conditions to slip it past under cover of darkness.”

“The partisan gerrymandering strategy is different, but the goal is the same. They want a lock on legislative dominance in Trenton.  Using the rationale that the pandemic is interfering with census-information gathering, this bill is an effort to steamroll the State Constitution to ensure Democrat outcomes for incumbent legislators.”

“This is being done in the middle of a pandemic. Stakeholders and communities of interest who will be impacted the most will have little opportunity to engage in a debate over such an important constitutional change. It’s an injustice to New Jersey residents who deserve effective representation now more than ever during this coronavirus crisis.”

Republican State Chairman Doug Steinhardt

“This is a desperate and greedy power grab by Democrat politicians in Trenton. It is one step shy of amending the Constitution to mandate a Democrat majority. New Jersey’s legislative map is broken. Republicans regularly garner a similar or larger number of votes than Democrats on a county or state level, yet due to a flawed map pick up few or no additional legislative seats. New Jersey Republicans have momentum after 2019 and with Phil Murphy’s COVID failures in 2020. New Jerseyans deserve a map that represents results, not protects incumbents, but instead Democrats are exploiting a crisis to preserve their power, and this failed map for another two years.

“No matter what steps Trenton Democrats undertake to change the rules to preserve their power, the NJGOP will not stop fighting to change the rule makers.”

Assemblyman John McKeon

“This pandemic is creating an unforeseeable impact on the timeframe needed to get a complete and accurate census count. While we hope the federal government will be able to get it done, we recognize the critical importance of having an alternative course of action should delays come to pass.”

“An undercount could not only prove detrimental to the way federal funding gets apportioned over the next decade, but would largely affect the way our communities are represented through all levels of government.”

Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez

“This amendment would eliminate any confusion about the process that would take place if a court is forced to get involved at the last minute. It would also prevent any group from receiving an unfair advantage from moving dates for elections. The amendment would also protect communities of color and other hard-to-count populations that stand to make significant gains due to increases in population over the last decade.”

Senate Minority Whip Joseph Pennacchio

“As a legislator, my priorities begin and end with the interests of the people in my district who selected me as their representative.  If I placed a higher value on partisan power, the Democrat plan would make more sense, but for the local residents who depend on us when they send us to Trenton, this is an injustice. I firmly reject this ploy to gain legislative dominance. If the Democrats want to use their power, I urge them to move my resolution (SCR-117) to give legislators their proper seat at the table and, with voter support, limit the duration of emergency orders and rules issued by any New Jersey governor to 14 days.  That is the power our residents intended when they put their trust in our hands. Let’s not abuse that power, let’s use it.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Nicholas Scutari

“We already know that delivery of the census will be delayed at least until the end of July of next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we shouldn’t be surprised if the delay is even longer. That will make it all but impossible to get the accurate information needed to draw legislative districts that are fair and accurate. We need to be prepared to protect against the severe disruptions that would occur if the data isn’t available in time.”

“The Census Bureau has asked to delay delivery of the data until the end of July, 2021. New Jersey is one of two states that hold legislative elections in 2021, creating “a severe scheduling squeeze with damaging consequences.  New Jersey and Virginia typically receive census data months earlier. As the law currently stands, New Jersey must adopt new legislative maps within 60 days of receiving the census data.”

Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly

“Obtaining an accurate census count is essential, and the Census Bureau must do everything it can to ensure hard-to-count populations are recorded accurately, regardless of how long that may take.  Accurate data is critical. Census data is used to create new districts for federal, state and many local elections to ensure citizens have equal representation in their various levels of government.”

Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez

“A lot is at stake in the 2020 census and we cannot afford for the process to be rushed. Hispanic communities in New Jersey, who have historically gone undercounted, stand to make momentous gains if we do this right.  As a state with an early election timeline, that does however mean we must look to delay the process of creating new legislative districts and we do that by putting it to the voters.”

Assemblywoman Britnee Timberlake

“Our communities of color must be protected by census accuracy.  We must ensure the Census Bureau has the time necessary to complete as accurate a count as possible, regardless of the status of the COVID-19 pandemic and free of political pressure from states to submit data before it is ready.”

Assemblyman Thomas P. Giblin

“New Jersey requires census data to be submitted in a timely manner in order to create new districts, or election deadlines are missed.  Even minor delays can create significant problems for our state having timely elections, but the Census Bureau is currently requesting at least a three-month delay and possibly longer to submit data to states.”

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