A progressive policy group with ties to some of the country’s most notable Democrats has come out against a constitutional amendment that would change New Jersey’s redistricting process in a way the amendment’s many opponents say resembles gerrymandering.
The Center for American Progress, which is headed, among others, by former U.S. Sen. Tom Daschle, billionaire activist Tom Steyer that appears to be angling for a presidential bid in 2020 and John Podesta, a former staffer for President Barack Obama who served as chairman of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.
“For years, conservative lawmakers across the country have attacked the right to vote and engaged in blatant partisan gerrymandering to stay in power. Progressives have to prove to the public that they are different — that they will fix the broken political system and earn the voters’ trust,” said Danielle Root, the group’s voting rights manager.
“The proposed constitutional amendment to New Jersey’s redistricting process would be a major step in the wrong direction. New Jersey can and should have a fair, impartial process that allows voters to decide who represents them — not a process where politicians decide who they want to represent.”
The constitutional amendment would use statewide elections, including those for governor, president and U.S. Senate, over the preceding 10 years to draw a benchmark for a definition of competitiveness.
At least 25% of the state’s 40 legislative districts would be required to have their vote margin within 5% of the average of the margin of those statewide elections.
The amendment has so far seen widespread opposition within the state, including from Republicans, non-partisan observers and liberal groups, but the Center for American Progress is the first national Democratic organization to condemn Trenton Democrats’ efforts.