To the Editor:
I am disappointed that a partisan gerrymandering bill has been fast tracked in our state legislature for a December 17th vote. Simultaneous hearings in the senate and assembly are scheduled tomorrow – December 13.
In New Jersey, we're lucky to have an independent, bipartisan commission that redraws the state legislative districts from where we elect our State Senators and Assembly Members. Some legislative leaders want to amend the state constitution to change the process, and bake partisanship into the line-drawing criteria. They're mandating that legislators sit on the commission to draw their own districts. And they're demanding that the commission use partisan voting data to draw the districts.
Our legislative map should reflect the will of the people who live here and not be drawn to lock in a hyper-partisan advantage.
Everyone from the League of Women Voters, NAACP, Democratic grassroots groups to the Republican Legislative Caucus is against the bill. And with good reason: While other states fight to remove partisanship from redistricting, our legislature wants to take New Jersey in the wrong direction. These changes would take power away from voters and set us back 50 years.
The legislature must put the brakes on this bad bill and hold open, public hearings on the best way to draw districts in our state. Everyone, please call your State Senator and both Assembly members to let them know: Vote NO on SCR43 / SCR152 / ACR60 / ACR205.
Language that allows partisan gerrymandering has no place in our Constitution!
Evelyn C. Murphy, PhD