Carchman says 5% population gap will be allowed for legislative map

Philip Carchman, a former state court of appeals judge and 11th decisive member of the New Jersey Legislative Allocation Commission, today released a statement outlining his standards for the state’s new legislative map, including including the significant expectation that districts adhere to a gap of 5% of the population. .

Unlike congressional federal districts, which must be exactly equal in size within a given state, New Jersey allows some population deviation in order to keep municipal boundaries intact – a requirement for all districts, to the except those comprising Jersey City and Newark, which are each larger than a legislative constituency.

“Recognizing that it is practically impossible for each district to be identical in population, the law allows a deviation of up to 5%, that is to say 2.5% above and 2.5% below the required size of the district, ”Carchman wrote. “Districts should be mapped out to achieve this result. “

The ideal district size is 232,075, which means that Carchman will theoretically be accessible to districts with between 226,273 and 237,877 inhabitants.

Carchman’s statement also expects the card proposals to adhere to voting rights law, protect communities of interest, create competitive districts where possible, and disrupt the existing card relatively little. ‘he previously indicated at the first committee meeting in October.

Carchman also noted that New Jersey’s minority population has grown over the past decade – up to 48% of the state’s total population – and the new map should reflect that.

“Based on New Jersey’s geographic and demographic diversity, the state’s communities of interest are numerous,” he wrote. “Although the preservation of communities of interest cannot replace the principles of mandatory distribution, where possible, districts should be created to preserve communities of interest. “

The commission is made up of 11 members in total: five Democrats, five Republicans and Carchman, who was selected as a tiebreaker by the State Supreme Court after both parties failed to agree on a final member. Carchman said in October that he hopes the parties come together to draw a map, but is ready to choose between two options if necessary.

“I might have to make a tough call and tough vote,” he said. “I’ve done it throughout my professional career, and I’m ready to do it here.”

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