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Senator Kip Bateman

Bateman: Hypocritical Democrats Have Enough Time to Rush Redistricting Amendment onto Ballot, But Won’t Give Voters Choice on $10 Billion Borrowing Plan

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Senator Kip Bateman (R-16) said New Jersey Democrats are being utterly hypocritical by rushing a constitutional amendment onto this November’s ballot that would disenfranchise minority voters in next year’s legislative elections, while simultaneously seeking to avoid the voter approval that is required for a record-setting $10 billion borrowing plan they announced today:

Sen. Kip Bateman said Democrats are being utterly hypocritical by rushing a constitutional amendment onto this November’s ballot, while simultaneously seeking to avoid the required voter approval for their new $10 billion borrowing plan. (SenateNJ.com)

“Democrats say they still have enough time to rush a constitutional amendment onto this November’s ballot that good-government advocates say would disenfranchise minorities, but they somehow can’t manage to give voters a say on $10 billion of debt they plan to issue as our constitution requires.

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Senator Tom Kean

Kean: Democrats’ Redistricting Amendment About Cementing Their Control, Limiting Voter Choice

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Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean said a constitutional amendment (SCR-43) being fast-tracked by Democrats is designed to make legislative elections less competitive while cementing permanent Democratic majorities in the New Jersey Legislature.

Sen. Tom Kean said a constitutional amendment proposed by Democrats is designed to make legislative elections less competitive while cementing permanent Democratic majorities in the New Jersey Legislature. (SenateNJ.com)

“The constitutional amendment proposed by New Jersey Democrats is not about making our elections fairer or legislative districts more competitive,” said Kean. “This sham of an amendment is about power. It’s about Democrats who have controlled the Legislature for nearly two decades trying to cement their power by permanently rigging the election process in their favor.”

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Senator Kip Bateman

Editorial: Redistricting Amendment Proposed By NJ Democrats Kneecaps Democracy

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The following editorial by Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman on a state constitutional amendment that would give Democrat legislators lifelong tenure in elected office, even when they fail constituents or when voters want a change in representation, was published in the Asbury Park Press on January 8, 2016: 

Sen. Kip Bateman’s editorial opposing an attempt by State Democrats to pass a constitutional amendment that would result in fewer competitive legislative elections. (SenateNJ.com)

I introduce, vote and debate policies in Trenton, conscious of every constituency I represent in the diverse 16th legislative district. Being a public servant for such a competitive voting district is a healthy challenge, reflecting the strong will for democracy that created America.

As our country grew, so too did the quest for equal voting rights. Legendary leaders, such as Susan B. Anthony and Martin Luther King Jr., dedicated their lives to the cause of securing equal voting rights for minority citizen populations.

Unconscionably, New Jersey Democrats are fast-tracking a constitutional amendment that would severely undermine those historic democratic and civil rights successes.

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District 9

Connors, Rumpf & Gove Oppose Gerrymandering Constitutional Amendment Designed to Rig Redistricting

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Calling it one of the most blatant political power grabs on record, Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove oppose and will vote against a legislative effort to rig the State’s Legislative redistricting process.

Calling it one of the most blatant political power grabs on record, District 9 lawmakers said they oppose and will vote against a legislative effort to rig the State’s Legislative redistricting process. (©iStock)

As proposed, the companion Resolutions, SCR-152 and ACR-205, would have amended the State Constitution, setting new standards for how legislative districts are redrawn. The calculations that would be used to establish legislative districts would have been based on federal and gubernatorial elections results, as opposed to legislative election results, in order to give the State Democrat party a massive advantage, according to a number of nonpartisan groups and election experts.

“As intended, the proposed state constitutional amendment was a deceptive, overt partisan power grab being pushed by establishment players under the false pretense that this about reform, when in reality – it was anything but.

“Bottom line: the gerrymandering that would be authorized under the proposed amendment would have deprived New Jersey voters of fair representation in government, regardless of their political affiliation, further eroding trust in government.
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New Jersey Senate Republicans

Senate Republicans Urge Sponsors to Table “Undemocratic” Constitutional Amendment on Redistricting

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The fifteen members of the Senate Republican caucus sent a letter today urging the sponsors of a proposed amendment to the New Jersey Constitution to table the proposal, saying it is clearly designed to impart a permanent electoral advantage to incumbents and legislative candidates from the Democratic Party.

Senate Republicans urged the sponsors of a proposed constitutional amendment to table the proposal, saying it is clearly designed to impart a permanent electoral advantage to incumbents and legislative candidates from the Democratic Party. (SenateNJ.com)

In the letter to Senator Nicholas Scutari and Senate President Stephen Sweeney, the sponsors of SCR-43/SCR-152, the caucus notes the uniform opposition to the proposal from a host of independent election experts, civil rights groups, and academics from across the political spectrum.

Click here to view a PDF of the letter.

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Senator Declan O'Scanlon

O’Scanlon Warns that Democrats’ Redistricting Constitutional Amendment Would Prevent Voters from Holding the Legislative Majority Accountable

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Senator Declan O’Scanlon said a proposed amendment to the New Jersey Constitution being advanced by Democrats is designed to deny voters the opportunity to hold the majority party accountable in state legislative elections.

Sen. Declan O’Scanlon said a proposed amendment to the N.J. Constitution being advanced by Democrats is designed to deny voters the opportunity to hold the majority party accountable in state legislative elections. (SenateNJ.com)

“While Democrats have succeeded in having their desired maps adopted during the last two redistricting cycles, there at least has been the opportunity for Republicans to make the case for creating truly competitive legislative districts that would provide voters the opportunity to hold the majority party accountable,” said O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth). “The proposed constitutional amendment, however, would permanently tip the scales in favor of Democrats by changing the metrics used to draw legislative districts in a way that is virtually guaranteed to result in continued Democratic control of the Legislature, regardless of how people actually vote in legislative elections. Their proposal short-circuits the election process by preordaining the result before a single ballot is cast. It makes a mockery of democracy in New Jersey.”

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New Jersey Senate Republicans

ICYMI: Massive Opposition to Democrats’ Rushed Redistricting Scheme

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Numerous organizations have voiced their adamant displeasure with the latest scheme (ACR-188) proposed by Democrats to delay the legislative redistricting process through a rushed constitutional amendment. They have warned that the proposed constitutional amendment would disenfranchise voters and delay by years the opportunity for growing minority communities to be fairly represented.

Numerous organizations have voiced their displeasure with the latest scheme proposed by Democrats to delay the legislative redistricting process. (SenateNJ.com)

The following is a roundup of statements and testimony by nonpartisan election experts, academics, journalists, and representatives from a variety of good-government organizations spanning the political spectrum that have opposed the legislation.

Here’s what they’re saying…

“Today’s bill is not in the best interest of the people of New Jersey generally, and its people of color in particular. We oppose the proposed bill today because it will exacerbate the cracks of structural racism in our foundation by using the existing, outdated legislative maps, which do not include the substantial growth of people of color in New Jersey since 2010, thereby diluting the political strength, influence, and power to which people of color are entitled based on their composition of New Jersey’s population as it exists right now. This Legislature has had almost three months to work on a solution, and despite requests from advocates and the significant public interest about this issue, these discussions have been in backrooms. But instead of holding public hearings and discussions during this time, members of the Legislature have waited to the last minute to introduce and fast track a problematic constitutional amendment. This is not how democracy should work. …turning to the substance of the bill, the 2011 legislative map is no longer representative of New Jersey. This bill, unfortunately, ignores the interests of communities of color in a manner that may violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Finally, this bill inappropriately seeks to make a permanent change to our redistricting process. Today’s bill does not serve the interests of communities of color now, and will undermine those communities in the future. For these reasons, we oppose this bill. We urge you not to pass it.” Henal Patel, New Jersey Institute for Social Justice; Rev. Eric Dobson, Deputy Director, Fair Share Housing Center; Richard T. Smith, President, NAACP New Jersey State Conference; Rev. Dr. Charles F. Boyer, Executive Director, Salvation and Social Justice; and Elise Boddie, Founder, The Inclusion Project, Rutgers Law School

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District 9

Connors, Rumpf & Gove Oppose Legislative Redistricting Scheme

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Senator Christopher Connors, Assemblyman Brian Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne Gove will be voting NO on a legislative redistricting proposal that is being fast-tracked to avoid public scrutiny and deliberation.  The legislation (ACR-188) proposes to amend the State Constitution to allow for the legislative redistricting process to be delayed.

Connors, Rumpf & Gove announced they will be voting against a legislative proposal to delay the redistricting process that is being fast-tracked to avoid public scrutiny and deliberation. (SenateNJ.com)

The 9th District Delegation offered the following remarks:

“This is a Trenton-power play meant to keep control in the hands of the few and protect the status quo. They are going all-in to ensure that the majority of the Legislature remains composed of tax increasers and big-government advocates who want and willingly allow the bureaucracy to micro-manage too many aspects of our lives.

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Senator Tom Kean

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

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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.

Sen. Tom Kean warned that a proposed constitutional amendment being fast-tracked is another thinly veiled attempt by entrenched Democratic incumbents to avoid competitive election districts. (SenateNJ.com)

“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.”

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Senator Tom Kean

Kean Statement on Proposed Legislative Redistricting Reforms

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Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean released the following statement on a report from leading academics on “Improving New Jersey’s Legislative Apportionment Process.”

Sen. Tom Kean’s statement on a report from leading academics on “Improving New Jersey’s Legislative Apportionment Process.” (SenateNJ.com)

“Last year, we raised the alarm when Democrats attempted to fast-track a constitutional amendment that would have made legislative elections less competitive while cementing permanent Democratic majorities in the New Jersey Legislature,” said Kean (R-21). “With broad bipartisan support from outside groups and respected academics, we defeated their attempt to rig our elections. Any changes to improve how we reapportion legislative districts should focus on making the process fairer and more transparent.”

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Republican Senators

Tom Kean

District 21 - Republican Leader

Kip Bateman

District 16

Chris Brown

District 2

Anthony M. Bucco

District 25

Gerald Cardinale

District 39

Kristin Corrado

District 40

Michael Doherty

District 23

Jim Holzapfel

District 10

Steven Oroho

District 24

Declan O'Scanlon

District 13

Joe Pennacchio

District 26

Robert Singer

District 30

Michael Testa

District 1

Samuel Thompson

District 12

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