The State Senate approved a bill allowing the state’s reapportionment commissions to count incarcerated individuals as living at their residential addresses for redistricting at the congressional, county and local levels Wednesday.
The Assembly cleared the bill in a 50-25 vote last week that fell largely along party lines. The Senate’s 36-2 vote sends the measure to Murphy’s desk.
Two Republicans, Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean (R-Westfield) and State Sen. Chris Brown (R-Ventnor City) voted no.
Gov. Phil Murphy last year signed into law a bill requiring incarcerated individuals be counted as living at their residential addresses for legislative redistricting. The new bill, sponsored by State Sen. Sandra Cunningham (D-Jersey City), extends that requirement to congressional districts, county commissioner districts, municipal wards and regional school districts.
“In most cases, incarceration is only temporary. It is unfair for inmates to be considered part of a community where they’ll likely never live as a free citizen,” Cunningham said. “Since incarcerated people cannot vote, their communities are their last line of defense to make their voices heard
The bill would not affect local election districts drawn for county committee members.