Gov. Phil Murphy wasn’t ready to say if he would sign or veto legislation allowing incarcerated individuals to be counted in their original hometown for the purpose of congressional redistricting before the U.S. Census Bureau transmits municipal population data on August 16.
The arrival of the town-by-town population numbers is the kickoff of the decennial map drawing season.
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.
Previously, those incarcerated would be counted towards the town in which they were imprisoned.
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.
Unless Murphy signs the bill, members of the congressional and legislative redistricting commissions will be drawing maps using different lists.
It’s also possible that the process could start with one set of data and then change mid-stream.
Murphy praised New Jersey’s success in getting the state properly counted during the 2020 census.
“I continue to be extremely thankful for with amount of energy and funding into getting this completed,” Murphy said.