Primary Authority: Congressional plans are drawn and adopted by the New Jersey Redistricting Commission, a 13-member body of political appointees.
- Members: The President and minority leader of the New Jersey Senate and the Speaker and minority leader of the New Jersey General Assembly each appoints 2 members. The chairmen of the political party committees whose gubernatorial candidates received the most and second most votes at the most recent election each appoint 2 members. The initial 12 members then select a 13th member by majority vote, who serves as chair. If they fail to agree on the final member by their deadline, they submit the names of the two persons who received the greatest number of votes to the New Jersey Supreme Court who selects the 13th member by majority vote. [N.J. Const. art. II, § II, ¶¶ 1, 2]
- Timing: The initial 12 commissioners must be appointed by June 15 and certified to the Secretary of State by July 1 of years ending in 1. The initial 12 commissioners must select the 13th member by July 15 and certified to the Secretary of State by July 20 of years ending in 1. If they fail, they must submit the two names to the state Supreme Court by July 20 and the Court must appoint the final member by August 10 and certify them to the Secretary of State by August 15 of years ending in 1. The Commission must meet and organize no later than the Wednesday after the first Monday in September of years ending in 1. [N.J. Const. art. II, § II, ¶¶ 1, 2]
- Eligibility: Commission members must be appointed with consideration of the geographic, ethnic, and racial diversity of the state, and none may be a member or employee of Congress. The 13th member must have been a resident of the state for the preceding 5 years and must not have held public or party office in the state during that time. If the state Supreme Court selects the 13th member, they must select the one more qualified by educational and occupational experience, by prior public service in government or otherwise, and by demonstrated ability to represent the best interest of the people of New Jersey. [N.J. Const. art. II, § II, ¶ 1]
- Voting: At least 7 commissioners are required for a quorum, and all official actions, including the adoption of final plans, require affirmative votes from at least 7 commissioners. If the commission deadlocks on a final plan, the two plans receiving the greatest number of votes but no less than 5 are submitted to the state Supreme Court. [N.J. Const. art. II, § II, ¶ 1, 2]
- Public Input & Transparency: The Commission must hold at least 3 public hearings in different parts of the state and shall review plans submitted by members of the public, subject to the constraints of time and convenience. Votes to adopt a final plan must be done in an open public meeting for which there is at least 24 hours public notice, and votes must be recorded. All other meetings besides the mandatory 3 public hearings and one in which a final plan will be voted on may be closed to the public. [N.J. Const. art. II, § II, ¶¶ 3, 4, 5]
Mapping Timeline: After holding the required public hearings, the Commission must adopt and certify its final congressional plan to the Secretary of State either on or before the 3rd Tuesday of years ending in 2 or within 3 months of receiving the state’s congressional reapportionment figure from the decennial census, whichever is later. If the commission deadlocks on a final plan, the two plans receiving the greatest number of votes but no less than 5 are submitted to the state Supreme Court. The state Supreme Court then selects whichever plan best conforms to constitutional and statutory requirements, but no deadline is specified. [N.J. Const. art. II, § II, ¶¶ 3, 4]
Redistricting Criteria: None.
Map Challenges: Filed in the New Jersey Supreme Court. If a plan is declared unlawful, the Commission must reform and adopt a new plan within the time period specified by the court or within a shorter period of time as may be necessary to ensure the new plan is effective for the next congressional primary and general election. [N.J. Const. art. II, § II, ¶¶ 7, 9]
Primary Authority: Legislative plans are drawn and adopted by New Jersey’s Apportionment Commission, a 10-member, politically appointed body. An 11th member is appointed if the initial 10 cannot reach an agreement on final plans.
- Members: The chairmen of the state political parties whose gubernatorial candidates received the most and second most votes in the last election each appoint 5 members. The chairmen must consider representation for the various geographic areas of the state in making their selections. If the 10 commissioners fail to agree on a final plan by their deadline, the Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court appoints an 11th member to the Commission. [N.J. Const. art. IV, § III, ¶¶ 1, 2]
- Timing: The state party committee chairmen must select their appointees by November 15 and certify them to the Secretary of State by December 1 of the decennial census year. If the Commission fails to adopt final plans by its deadline, the state Supreme Court must then appoint the 11th member but no deadline to do so is specified. If decennial census data is delivered to the state after February 15 of the year ending in 1, the Commission must begin its work upon receipt of the data and the 11th member must be appointed by the Chief Justice within 1 month of the date on which data was received. [N.J. Const. art. IV, § III, ¶¶ 1, 2, 4]
- Eligibility: No restrictions specified.
- Voting: Official actions, including the adoption of final plans, require a majority vote. [N.J. Const. art. IV, § III, ¶¶ 1, 2]
- Public Input & Transparency: No requirements.
Mapping Timeline: The Commission must adopt and certify final legislative plans to the Secretary of State either within 1 month of receiving decennial census data or by February 1 of the year after the decennial census year, whichever is later. If the 10-member Commission fails to meet its deadline, the 11th member is appointed by the Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court and the Commission must adopt and certify final legislative plans to the Secretary of State within 1 month of the 11th member’s appointment.
If decennial census data is delivered after February 15 of years ending in 1, the Commission must adopt and certify final legislative plans to the Secretary of State after the November general election of that year but no later than March 1 of years ending in 2. [N.J. Const. art. IV, § III, ¶¶ 1, 2, 4]
- State Senate: Contiguous; Preserve whole counties wherever practicable; As nearly equal in population as may be. [N.J. Const. art. IV, § II, ¶ 1]
- State House: Compact; Contiguous; As nearly equal in population as possible; Avoid divisions of counties and municipalities unless necessary to comply with other requirements. [N.J. Const. art. IV, § II, ¶ 3]
Map Challenges: Not specified.
Ballot Measure & Referendum Processes
Types of Measures: Only the New Jersey Legislature may refer amendments to the ballot. There is no initiative or referendum process. [N.J. Const. art. IX]
Previous Redistricting Cycles
- Commission’s Original Plan
- Adopted = December 22, 2021
- Became Law = January 6, 2022
- Litigation History
- Steinhardt v. New Jersey Redistricting Comm’n, No. 086587 (N.J. Feb. 3, 2022): On December 30, 2021, the Republican members of the New Jersey Congressional Redistricting Commission filed a lawsuit against the commission, its independent member, and its Democratic members challenging the Commission's adopted congressional redistricting plan as violating the U.S. and New Jersey Constitutions. They alleged the independent tie-breaking member’s rationale for selecting the final map was so arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable as to violate the federal and state equal protection and due process guarantees and sought to have it set aside. On February 3, 2022, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued an order dismissing the plaintiffs' complaint for failing to state a claim.
- Commission’s Original Plans
- Litigation History
- Gonzalez v. State Apportionment Comm’n, 53 A.3d 1230 (N.J. Super. Ct. 2012): Different groups of plaintiffs filed challenges to the Commission’s adopted legislative plans, asserting violations of federal and state constitutional provisions relating to equal population, compactness, partisan considerations, and the structure and transparency of the Commission’s operations. On September 10, 2012, the N.J. Superior Court affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of the action, finding that the plaintiffs either failed to state a claim or failed to adequately support the alleged violations.
- Commission’s Original Plans
- Litigation History
- Page v. Bartels, 144 F.Supp.2d 346 (D.N.J. 2001): Plaintiffs filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Commission’s adopted legislative plans on the grounds it harmed African-American and Hispanic voting strength in violation of the 14th Amendment’s Due Process and Equal Protection guarantees, the 15th Amendment, and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. On May 7, 2001, the district court upheld the plans, finding that they did not violate either the federal or state constitutions, nor the Voting Rights Act.
- Robertson v. Bartels, 150 F.Supp.2d 691 (D.N.J. 2001): Plaintiffs filed a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Commission’s adopted legislative plans in addition to the state’s one-year district residency requirement as a requisite for running for legislative office. After the district court rejected their challenged to the plans’ constitutionality in an earlier opinion, the district court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs as to their residency requirement challenge, finding that it violated the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause and invalidated the requirement.
- Aff’d, 534 U.S. 1110 (2002)
- McNeil v. Legislative Apportionment Comm’n, 828 A.2d 840 (N.J. 2003): None of New Jersey’s redistricting plans adopted since the 1964 adoption of the one person, one vote constitutional standard had complied with the state constitution’s political boundary requirement for the State’s two largest cities. Plaintiffs brought a lawsuit challenging the Commission’s adopted legislative plans as unconstitutional based upon its non-compliance with the state constitutional political boundary requirement, and on July 31, 2003, the state Supreme Court ruled that the political boundary requirement was invalid under the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause and upheld the plans.
In The News
- New Jersey's New State Legislative District Map Adopted in Bipartisan Vote, Politico (2/21/22)
- Highlights of the Democratic and Republican Legislative Redistricting Maps, New Jersey Globe (2/7/22)
- NJ Supreme Court Rejects GOP Effort to Toss Redrawn Map, AP (2/3/22)
- Judge Denies Sweeney Bid to Reclaim Seat on Redistricting Commission, New Jersey Globe (2/1/22)
- Sweeney Dumped from Democratic Legislative Redistricting Commission, New Jersey Globe (1/26/22)
- Advisors to Independent Redistricting Tiebreakers Funded by Major Democratic Donors, New Jersey Globe (1/20/22)
- Princeton Team Advising Carchman Could Have a Conflict, New Jersey Globe (1/19/22)
- Carchman Sets February 8 Deadline for Legislative Maps, Says he’ll Seek Public Input Before Vote, New Jersey Globe (1/18/22)
- Republicans Allege Wallace Conflicts, Amend Challenge of Congressional Redistricting Map, New Jersey Globe (1/6/22)
- Supreme Court Wants Wallace to Detail Reasons for Backing Democratic Map, New Jersey Globe (1/4/22)
- Democrats Were Huge Contributors to Campaign of Redistricting Tiebreaker’s Wife, New Jersey Globe (1/4/22)
- Statement of Republican Members of the Congressional Redistricting Commission, New Jersey Globe (12/22/21)
- Democrats Win Congressional Redistricting Fight, New Jersey Globe (12/22/21)
- Identity of Legislative Redistricting Tiebreaker Probably won’t be Known Until November, New Jersey Globe (8/9/21)
- Justices Pick Wallace as Congressional Redistricting Tiebreaker, New Jersey Globe (8/6/21)
- No Consensus on Congressional Redistricting Tiebreaker, Parties Say, New Jersey Globe (8/1/21)
- Steinhardt Blast Democrats for Maneuvers Surrounding Congressional Redistricting Tiebreaker, New Jersey Globe (7/28/21)
- GOP Redistricting Commissions Set Deadline for Answers on Prisoner Allocations, New Jersey Globe (7/26/21)
- Democrats Add Poritz to List of Congressional Redistricting Tiebreakers, New Jersey Globe (7/26/21)
- New Jersey Chief Justice Seeks Consensus Candidate for Redistricting Panel, The Well News (7/24/21)
- N.J. Supreme Court will Pick Tiebreaker on Congressional Redistricting, New Jersey Globe (7/15/21)
- Rabner Gives Legislative Redistricting Commission One Month to Submit Possible Tiebreaker Candidates, New Jersey Globe (7/9/21)
- Democrats Name their Six Congressional Redistricting Commission Members, New Jersey Globe (6/15/21)
- Republicans Name their Six Congressional Redistricting Commission Members, New Jersey Globe (5/28/21)
- Legislative Redistricting Delay Certain after Census Announces Further Data Hold Ups, New Jersey Globe (1/5/21)
- 'There's not a Chance': New Jersey Redistricting Possible but Unlikely in 2021, WHYY (12/20/20)
- Lavery will Seek GOP State Chairmanship, New Jersey Globe (12/10/20)
- Why New Boundaries for NJ's Legislative Districts are Unlikely Anytime Soon, NJ Spotlight (11/30/20)
- NJ Democrats' Diversity Demands Clash with Party Bosses' Plans for Legislature, NorthJersey.com (11/23/20)
- Democratic Mapmakers Block Vote Pledge to Prevent Redistricting Deal with GOP, New Jersey Globe (11/17/20)
- Currie Will Name Jones as Democratic Redistricting Chairman, with Avelenda as Executive Director, New Jersey Globe (11/15/20)
- Sumter Calls Dems' Proposed Legislative Commission a Failure, Insider NJ (11/14/20)
- 60% of Voters Favor Redistricting Delay if Census is Late, Results Show, North Jersey (11/3/20)
- Redistricting Question on NJ Ballot Opposed by Good Government Groups, WNYC (10/7/20)
- Census Takers Begin Visiting Homes Statewide, Planet Princeton (8/25/20)
- N.J. Voters Will Decide Whether to Delay Redrawing how Power is Allocated in the State Legislature, NJ.com (7/31/20)
- Concern that NJ Redistricting Proposal Could Disproportionately Affect Minority Representation, NJ Spotlight (7/21/20)
- N.J. Lawmakers Mull Postponing Redistricting Due to Expected Census Delays, Whyy (7/21/20)
- Committee Hears Testimony on Legislative Redistricting Resolution, Insider NJ (7/20/20)
- Gopal Will Back Constitutional Amendment on Redistricting, New Jersey Globe (7/20/20)
- Democrats Move Plan to Delay Redistricting of State Legislative Seats, NJ Spotlight (7/15/20)
- Massive Opposition to Democrats' Rushed Redistricting Scheme, Insider NJ (7/14/20)
- Possible Unintended Consequences in Redistricting Constitutional Amendment, New Jersey Globe (7/14/20)
- Citing Census Delay, New Jersey Looks ti Push Legislative Redistricting to 2023, Roll Call (7/10/20)
- Measure to delay New Jersey's post-Census redistricting faces stiff opposition, The Center Square (7/9/20)
- Kean: Senate Republicans United Against Democrats' New Effort to Hijack Legislative Redistricting & Disenfranchise Voters, Insider NJ (7/8/20)
- New Jersey Democrats' Proposal to Put Off Redistricting Draws Criticism from Republicans, The Center Square (7/7/20)
- Rice urges Currie to add more women to redistricting commission, New Jersey Globe (5/28/20)
- Gopal wants women, people of color, on legislative redistricting panel, New Jersey Globe (5/19/20)
- Barlas to lead GOP legislative redistricting; names emerge for Democratic seats, New Jersey Globe (4/2/20)
- More states to use redistricting reforms after 2020 census, AP (3/5/20)
- N.J. changes how inmates are counted in census as Murphy ends ‘prison gerrymandering’, NJ.com (1/22/20)