The state legislature’s two Republican leaders, Senate Minority Leader Steven Oroho (R-Franklin) and Assembly Minority Leader John DiMaio (R-Hackettstown), sent a letter today to Princeton University President Christpher Eisgruber with their concerns about the Princeton Gerrymandering Project’s involvement in congressional redistricting.
According to New Jersey Globe reporting from this morning, the Princeton Gerrymandering Project, which advised Congressional Redistricting Commission tiebreaker John Wallace, appeared to favor Democrats throughout the mapmaking process. The commission’s five Democrats were reportedly given feedback from Princeton staffers about both their map and the Republican map, something not given to their Republican counterparts.
Wallace eventually chose a Democratic-drawn map with guidance from his Princeton advisors, who have refused to share their data with the public or even with the redistricting commissioners themselves.
“It has been alleged that Princeton Gerrymandering Project staff provided inside information to the Democratic congressional redistricting team about the strength of the proposed Republican map and provided guidance regarding specific deficiencies in the Democrat map that needed to be cured in order to create a stronger submission than that of the Republicans,” Oroho and DiMaio wrote. “By providing confidential information to one side, Princeton Gerrymandering Project staff likely tipped the scales in favor of Democrats.”
Oroho and DiMaio continued that, given Princeton’s reputation and commitment to academic integrity, the university should look into the Princeton Gerrymandering Project and its leader, Neuroscience Professor Sam Wang.
“Taking no action to investigate and address the extremely serious allegations would certainly cast immeasurable doubt about the integrity of your institution,” they wrote. “What steps are being taken to investigate the claims of improper conduct by Princeton Gerrymandering Project staff during the congressional redistricting process? What steps are being taken to hold staff accountable for any improper conduct that has taken place?”
While the congressional redistricting process is likely over, the state’s Legislative Apportionment Commission is just beginning its own map drawing process – and that commission’s tiebreaker, Philip Carchman, has also taken on the Princeton Gerrymandering Project as advisors.Oroho DiMaio Princeton letter