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State Sen. Declan O'Scanlon (R-Little Silver). Photo by Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe

O’Scanlon raises alarms over redistricting amendment

By Nikita Biryukov, November 21 2018 1:40 pm

Another New Jersey Republican is sounding alarms over Democrats’ proposed constitutional amendment to change the state’s redistricting process.

“The proposed constitutional amendment, however, would permanently tip the scales in favor of Democrats by changing the metrics used to draw legislative districts in a way that is virtually guaranteed to result in continued Democratic control of the Legislature, regardless of how people actually vote in legislative elections,” State Sen. Declan O’Scanlon said. “Their proposal short-circuits the election process by preordaining the result before a single ballot is cast. It makes a mockery of democracy in New Jersey.”

The amendment would introduce a metric in the state’s redistricting based off of performance in statewide races for governor and U.S. Senate. Republicans have not won a New Jersey Senate seat since 1972.

Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean sounded similar alarms over the bill on Tuesday, claiming they would eliminate voter choice by making a larger number of districts in the state non-competitive.

Non-partisan observers have echoed similar fears.

There is a silver lining for Republicans. Democrats won’t be able to pass the constitutional amendment this year, as there’s next to no chance they’ll get enough votes to meet the three-fifths majority threshold needed to pass an amendment in one year. They’ll have to get a simple majority vote two years in a row to get the amendment on the ballot.

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