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State Sen. Ronald L. Rice (D-Newark). (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe)

Rice says he’d back constitutional amendment delaying redistricting

Delay ‘would not bother me at all,’ senator says

By Nikita Biryukov, July 06 2020 3:15 pm

State Sen. Ron Rice (D-Newark) said he would support a constitutional amendment that would delay next year’s legislative redistricting until 2023 if the Census Bureau does not provide New Jersey with census counts by Feb. 15 of next year.

“A delay of redistricting would not bother me at all, and I would like to think that most legislators in office now, at least the incumbents, would prefer that to happen,” Rice told the New Jersey Globe Monday.

To get on November’s ballot, lawmakers will need to pass to amendment with 60% majorities in both chambers by Aug. 3. That means it would need 24 votes in the Senate and 48 votes in the Assembly.

Democratic leaders in both chambers are pushing the amendment, which Rice said he had not seen, and the senator said he would be more concerned about redrawing district lines without enough information than about running 2021’s races with the current map.

“My greatest concern would be they redistrict without the proper numbers, and we lose congressional districts in a process where we shouldn’t lose one, maybe pick up one,” Rice said. “And statewide, we lose good legislators or the potential to get better legislators because the districts aren’t cut correctly, so I have no problem supporting something like that.”

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