The redrawing of New Jersey's congressional districts is expected to be decided Friday with a tie-breaking vote coming from the one non-partisan member of the commission.
The fate of one New Jersey congressman hangs in the balance. The state lost population in the 2010 census and is losing one seat. One proposal would be to combine the districts of Republican Scott Garrett (R-5) and Democrat Steve Rothman (D-9). That would pit the two veteran congressmen against one another in a battle to see who represents the new district in Bergen County.
Tom Jackson of the Garden State Bar Association spoke before the commission Wednesday, urging them to keep minority communities around the state intact, so as not to dilute their voting strength. In Bergen County, several Asian communities in Teaneck, Tenafly, Englewood, Bergenfield and Palisades Park were at risk of losing political power, Jackson said.
But after a coalition of minority organizations spoke to the redistricting commission, Jackson said he felt more hopeful.
“You know the proof will be in the pudding,” Jackson said. “At the end of the day, we have to see a map that is fair and constitutional, that reflects the principals of the voting rights act and that for new jersey's congressional delegation to reflect new jersey's growing diversity.”
The tie-breaking vote is expected to be cast Friday by John Farmer Jr., dean of Rutgers Law School and a former attorney general in New Jersey.