Redistricting Information

Answers to Questions about Congressional District 7 redistricting.

On December 22, 2021, the Redistricting Commission adopted the “New Jersey Congressional Districts: 2022-2031” map. The adopted map was filed with the Secretary of State on January 6, 2022.

THE DETAILS:

The new 7th district picks up all of Warren County, and Mendham Borough and part of Mendham Township in Morris.  Scotch Plains, which had been split with the 12th, sits entirely in the 7th, along with the addition of Fanwood and Rahway and part of Linden.  Bridgewater and Hillsborough are split between the 7th and 12th districts.  The 7th adds nine towns in Sussex: Andover Township, Byram, Fredon, Green, Hopatcong, Ogdensburg, Sparta, Stillwater and Walpack. 

On the other side, Millburn in Essex County and Dover in Morris County are shifted to the 11th District. While Cranford, Garwood, Kenilworth and the entirety of Union Township in Union are moved into the 10th District, and Montgomery, North Plainfield, Rocky Hill in Somerset move to the 12th District.

THE BOTTOM LINE:

Tom Malinowski gets a more difficult, but not unwinnable, district by taking in all of Warren County and parts of Sussex County, while losing Democratic towns in the east like Millburn. But he’s not DOA.  This 7th district is Biden +4, compared to Biden +10 currently. In other words, it’s sure to be another competitive race.


Redistricting explained

(Detailed explanation for the wonks out there)


What is districting?

Every 10 years, as required by the Constitution, each state reconfigures its congressional districts in response to population changes measured by the official U.S. census count. This year, New Jersey’s population growth was larger than expected, allowing it to keep all 12 of its House seats.

Currently, Democrats hold 10 of the 12 seats in New Jersey. In the House of Representatives, Democrats hold a nine-vote edge over Republicans.

Who drew the new map?

The New Jersey Redistricting Commission starts off as a 12-member body and is responsible for drawing the congressional district map. It is separate from the New Jersey Apportionment Commission, which is charged with redrawing state legislative district boundaries once a decade.

Democratic and Republican leaders each choose six members. The president of the Senate, speaker of the Assembly, minority leaders of the Senate and Assembly and chairs of the two major parties each gets to choose two members. The 13th member, who served as the chair, was chosen by a majority of the NJ Supreme Court. The majority of the New Jersey Supreme Court voted to select John Wallace, a retired New Jersey Supreme Court judge, to act as a tiebreaker on the congressional redistricting commission.

What did the commission do?

The Redistricting Commission redrew the congressional district boundary lines, based on census data.

There are fewer written rules for the composition of congressional districts than for legislative districts. The process is mostly driven by the U.S. Voting Rights Act and case law.

The districts must have essentially the same populations. The census count of the state population at 9.29 million means each district should roughly contain about 774,000 residents. According to the 2019 Census American Community Survey estimates, the southernmost 2nd District currently represented by Republican Jeff Van Drew had the smallest population.

Members of the public were able to submit their own proposals for district boundaries to the commission, which is required to consider them.

On December 22, 2021, the Redistricting Commission adopted the “New Jersey Congressional Districts: 2022-2031” map. The adopted map was filed with the Secretary of State on January 6, 2022.



Deep Dive Information:

Redistricting is the process of enacting new congressional and state legislative district boundaries. Upon completion of the 2020 census, New Jersey will draft and enact new district maps. This article chronicles the 2020 redistricting cycle in New Jersey.

New Jersey’s 12 United States representatives and 120 state legislators are all elected from political divisions called districts. District lines are redrawn every 10 years following completion of the United States census. Federal law stipulates that districts must have nearly equal populations and must not discriminate on the basis of race or ethnicity.

See the sections below for further information on the following topics:

  1. Apportionment and release of census data: This section details the 2020 apportionment process, including data from the United States Census Bureau.
  2. Drafting process: This section details the drafting process for new congressional and state legislative district maps.
  3. Enactment: This section provides information about the enacted congressional and state legislative district maps.
  4. Court challenges: This section details court challenges to the enacted congressional and state legislative district maps.
  5. Background: This section summarizes federal and state-based requirements for redistricting at both the congressional and state legislative levels. A summary of the 2010 redistricting cycle in New Jersey is also provided.

Apportionment and release of census data

Apportionment is the process by which representation in a legislative body is distributed among its constituents. The number of seats in the United States House of Representatives is fixed at 435. The United States Constitution dictates that districts be redrawn every 10 years to ensure equal populations between districts. Every ten years, upon completion of the United States census, reapportionment occurs.[1]

Apportionment following the 2020 census

The U.S. Census Bureau delivered apportionment counts on April 26, 2021. New Jersey was apportioned 12 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. This represented neither a gain nor a loss of seats as compared to apportionment after the 2010 census.[2]

See the table below for additional details.

2020 and 2010 census information for New Jersey
State2010 census2020 census2010-2020
PopulationU.S. House seatsPopulationU.S. House seatsRaw change in populationPercentage change in populationChange in U.S. House seats
New Jersey8,807,501129,294,49312486,9925.53%0

Drafting process

In New Jersey, congressional and state legislative district boundaries are drawn by two distinct politician commissions. The congressional redistricting commission comprises the following 13 members:[9]

  1. The majority and minority leaders of each chamber of the New Jersey State Legislature appoint two commissioners a piece (for a total of eight members).
  2. The chairs of the state’s two major political parties each appoint two members to the commission (for a total of four members). Commissioners appointed by the political parties cannot be members of Congress or congressional employees.
  3. The first 12 commissioners appoint the last member. This member cannot have held public office in the state within the previous five-year period. If the first 12 commissioners cannot agree on an appointment, they must submit two names to the New Jersey Supreme Court. The court must then appoint the final commissioner.

If the congressional redistricting commission fails to reach an agreement about a redistricting plan, it must submit two plans to the state Supreme Court, which must in turn select from those two plans a final map.[9]

The state legislative redistricting commission comprises 10 members. The chairs of the state’s two major political parties each appoint five members to the commission. In the event that this commission is unable to reach an agreement about a redistricting plan, the state Supreme Court may appoint a tie-breaking member.[9]

State law requires that state legislative districts meet the following criteria:[9]

  1. Districts must be contiguous.
  2. Districts “must be as nearly compact as possible.”
  3. Municipalities “must be kept intact, except where otherwise required by law.”

There are no such requirements in place for congressional districts.[9]

Committees and/or commissions involved in the process

In New Jersey, two commissions are involved in the redistricting process: the New Jersey Legislative Reapportionment Commission and the New Jersey Congressional Redistricting Commission. As of June 15, 2021, these commissions had the following members:[15][16][17][18]

New Jersey Legislative Reapportionment Commission membership, 2020 cycle
NamePartisan affiliation
Cosmo A. CirilloDemocratic 
LeRoy J. Jones, Jr. (Delegation Chairman)Democratic 
Stephen SweeneyDemocratic 
Gary TaffetDemocratic 
Diane T. TestaDemocratic 
Al Barlas (Delegation Chairman)Republican 
Jon BramnickRepublican 
Linda DuBoisRepublican 
Thomas Kean Jr.Republican 
Michael LaveryRepublican 
New Jersey Congressional Redistricting Commission membership, 2020 cycle
NamePartisan affiliation
John WallaceNew Jersey Supreme Court appointed tiebreaker
Iris DelgadoDemocratic 
Janice Campbell FullerDemocratic 
Vin GopalDemocratic 
Stephanie LagosDemocratic 
Jeff NashDemocratic 
Dana ReddDemocratic 
Doug SteinhardtRepublican 
Lynda PagliughiRepublican 
Mark LoGrippoRepublican 
Jeanne Dovgala AshmoreRepublican 
Mark DuffyRepublican 
Michele AlbanoRepublican 

A majority of the New Jersey Supreme Court voted to select John Wallace, a retired New Jersey Supreme Court judge, to act as a tiebreaker on the congressional redistricting commission.[23] His selection came after the 12 members of the state Congressional Redistricting Commission (six Democrats and six Republicans) did not agree on a 13th member by the July 15, 2021, deadline, meaning the decision went to the seven-member New Jersey Supreme Court.

Reprinted in part from: https://ballotpedia.org/Redistricting_in_New_Jersey_after_the_2020_census


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