Kean: Senate Republicans United Against Democrats’ New Effort to Hijack Legislative Redistricting & Disenfranchise Voters

Tom Kean

Kean: Senate Republicans United Against Democrats’ New Effort to Hijack Legislative Redistricting & Disenfranchise Voters

Says Proposed Constitutional Amendment Another Thinly Veiled Attempt by Entrenched Democratic Incumbents to Avoid Competitive Election Districts

Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean announced that the entire Senate Republican caucus is opposed to a proposed constitutional amendment being fast-tracked by legislative Democrats that would disenfranchise New Jersey voters by delaying the upcoming redistricting process unnecessarily. He urged concerned citizens to weigh-in prior to a public hearing that was hastily scheduled for tomorrow.

“This is just the latest in a series of efforts by Democrats in recent years to hijack the redistricting process for partisan gain,” said Kean (R-21). “Their past efforts were shot down with unanimous disapproval from the public, media, and good-government organizations. This newest effort is another thinly veiled attempt by Democrats to maintain an iron grip on the Legislature after two decades of control.”

The proposed constitutional amendment, SCR-122/ACR-188, would leave existing legislative districts in place for an extra two years if the delivery of New Jersey’s federal census data is delayed by as little as two weeks in early 2021.

“This is nothing more than an incumbency protection plan that would disenfranchise the ability of minority communities that have grown substantially over the past decade to seek fair representation in next year’s legislative elections,” said Kean. “Under the Democrats’ proposal, they’ll have to wait another two years to have the power of their voices fully heard in the Legislature. There’s nothing fair about undermining the principle of ‘one person, one vote.’ This undermines the integrity of representative democracy in New Jersey.”

Kean noted that a constitutional amendment is unnecessary as the dates of primary and general elections can be changed easily if delays in the receipt of census data require the legislative redistricting process that is set to take place next year to be pushed back temporarily.

“Primary dates have been changed numerous times for various reasons in recent memory, including this year when Governor Murphy issued an executive order moving the primary from June to July due to the coronavirus,” said Kean. “Our New Jersey Constitution clearly authorizes us to pass laws changing the date of the general election if needed. It’s a phony argument that we don’t already have every bit of flexibility we need to draw new legislative districts next year and hold elections in 2021 based on up-to-date population data.”

Kean further warned that the timing of the public hearing with minimal notice represents an effort to limit the opportunity of New Jerseyans to weigh in on a constitutional amendment of significant consequence that would prevent competitive elections and protect entrenched legislative representation.

“This proposed constitutional amendment is going from introduction on Monday to public hearing on Thursday in a manner that is intentionally deceptive,” added Kean. “Democrats are holding a remote hearing with minimal notice that people can’t attend, before anyone has had time to fully digest their proposal, at a time when people are distracted by the coronavirus. They should be ashamed.”

Kean urged concerned citizens to register their opinions on the New Jersey Legislature website by the 2:30 p.m deadline for submitting positions tomorrow afternoon, which is just prior to the 3 p.m. public hearing.

To submit a comment, click on the calendar in the middle of the page, then click on the box for July 9th. Select the link for “Assembly Judiciary” that appears above the calendar, then select the link for “Registration Form” to submit positions on the proposed amendment.

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