New legislative maps will see some towns changing districts

UNION COUNTY, NJ — The New Jersey Apportionment Commission approved new state legislative maps on Friday, Feb. 18, drawing new lines for senate and assembly districts that will go into effect in 2023, after the 2022 election. Delayed because of the pandemic, the newly redrawn districts are the result of the 2020 census results. The commission approved the map with a vote of 9-2; Thomas Kean Jr. and Cosmo Cirillo cast the opposing votes. Some towns in Union County will be reassigned from their current districts to new ones.

Municipalities that will remain in the same district include Elizabeth, Roselle and Union in the 20th; Berkeley Heights, Garwood, Mountainside, New Providence, Springfield, Summit and Westfield in the 21st; and Clark, Fanwood, Linden, Plainfield, Rahway, Scotch Plains and Winfield in the 22nd.

Though most Union County towns are remaining in their current district, four are moving. Cranford and Roselle Park will be going from the 21st district to the 22nd. Hillside will move from the 20th district to the 28th. Kenilworth, which is currently in the 21st district, will be moving to the 20th district.

The Apportionment Commission is made up of five Democrats, five Republicans and an 11th tiebreaking member not in either party. The co-chairpersons are one Democrat and one Republican: this year, Democrat LeRoy Jones Jr. and Republican Al Barlas. The 11th member is Philip Carchman. The rest of the commission is Democrats Cirillo, Laura Matos, Gary Taffet and Diane Testa, and Republicans Kean, Jon Bramnick, Linda DuBois and Michael Lavery.

“We leave here knowing what can be accomplished when we simply work together,” Jones said after the map was approved, according to an Insider NJ story. “Different parties, but the same fight.”
Carchman said he believes the map is fair for the next 10 years it will be in effect.

“The commission was blessed with two extraordinary co-chairs. These two gentlemen are strong and fierce advocates for their respective positions,” he said, according to the Insider NJ story. “There are people complaining, and the question always comes up: ‘Is the map perfect?’ No, it is not perfect, because there is no perfect map anywhere. We will have critics focusing on this map and how it affects the next election. But we didn’t design a map for the next election, but for the next decade.”