Senator Gerald Cardinale (R-Bergen, Passaic) issued the following statement warning voters that legislative Democrats’ attempts to constitutionally change the legislative redistricting process would permanently create “safe” districts and eliminate the voice of 75 percent of New Jerseyans:
Sen. Gerry Cardinale warned voters that attempts to constitutionally change the legislative redistricting process would eliminate the voice of 75 percent of New Jerseyans. (SenateNJ.com)
“The marginalization of New Jersey residents through this hastily proposed constitutional amendment is historically anti-American. A catalyst for the foundation of this country in 1776 was the rallying cry “no taxation without representation” by colonists devoid of any way of influencing the laws being handed down on them. SCR-188 will have this same chilling effect on the people of New Jersey.
“By establishing the mandate that 30 of the 40 legislative districts be “safe” or noncompetitive, this constitutional amendment attempts to enshrine in the constitution the thought that 75 percent of the people who vote in legislative elections are going to have no impact.
“I urge my Democrat colleagues and fellow voters to think about the meaning of this. With this amendment, the legislature will be able to run roughshod over the citizenry and the people will have very little recourse to voice their discontent with a meaningful vote. New Jersey’s already historically low voter turnout rates will plummet even further when residents know that the outcomes in three-quarters of all legislative elections are preordained by a redistricting committee.
“I have readily acknowledged that the current and past legislative district maps, which during my time in elected office have favored both parties, have not been perfect and that many districts, including the one I represent, heavily favor one political party over the other. However, the issue is not with the redistricting process as defined in the constitution itself and the solution is certainly not to enshrine in the constitution that there should always be uncompetitive races.
“We must instead work to make elections more competitive and that could start by eliminating the eleventh member of the commission who has in recent mapmaking amounted to a partisan vote. I’m reminded of Diogenes who went around his whole lifetime with his lantern looking for an honest man. In New Jersey we also haven’t found that honest man, or unbiased eleventh member, but we have made no attempt to find a way to get that honest man. Perhaps it is time we eliminate the eleventh, tie-breaking member and require the five-to-five member commission to work together, compromise and come up with a fair solution.”