New Jersey could see legislative districts moving South

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February 2, 2011

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By Kyle Maichle

TRENTON, New Jersey: As state officials are preparing to receive population data to draw the new legislative map, there's a possibility that a whole legislative district could move from Northern to Southern New Jersey.[1]

In order to balance population shifts, Republican and Democrat negotiators could move a district from Northeast New Jersey to the Central or Southern regions of the state.[1] The district could be placed in either Ocean or Burlington counties according to The Star Ledger.[1]

New Jersey had most of its population loss estimated in Essex and Hudson counties.[1] Estimates shown that the population grew in Gloucester, Ocean, and other counties in Southern New Jersey.[1]

Jay Webber, who leads the Republicans on the Redistricting Commission, acknowledged the possibility of moving a district downward.[1] Webber said: "Districts have in the past been uprooted from one part of the state to another...It's far too early to be talking about specific scenarios."[1] However, Democrats are downplaying possible changes to the map.[1] State Senator Jeff Van Drew said: "The current map is not a travesty."[1] Van Drew added, "obviously, we want to adjust for population and the changing nature of the communities, but not huge changes."[1]

The last time a whole legislative district shifted was in 1991 when District 30 moved from Essex to an area covering Ocean and Burlington.[1]

The 10 member Redistricting Commission has one month after the official release of Census data to reach an agreement on a redistricting plan.[1] If no agreement is reached, Chief Justice Stuart Rabner of the New Jersey Supreme Court would appoint an 11th member to the commission.[2] The 11th member would decide the final outcome on how the maps are drawn.[1][2]

The data is scheduled for release on the week of January 31, 2011.[3]

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