Advocates from across the spectrum united to show the power of democracy by forestalling gerrymandering amendment

December 17, 2018

Days after leaders from the ACLU-NJ and dozens of other nonpartisan organizations testified in contentious, concurrent Senate and Assembly hearings, leadership in the New Jersey Legislature pulled a previously scheduled vote on a proposal to make New Jersey’s legislative redistricting process even more partisan.

“New Jerseyans spoke in a voice united, across political parties and ideological divisions, opposing an attempt to write partisanship into the state constitution,” said ACLU-NJ Legal Director Jeanne LoCicero. “This proposed amendment would have threatened voting and other fundamental rights like free speech, free assembly, and equal protection of the laws. We look forward to collaborating with communities across the state and working with the legislature to develop a new redistricting plan that meets the standards of independence and equity that free and fair elections demand.”

ACLU-NJ Legal Director Jeanne LoCicero and Professor Ronald K. Chen, an ACLU-NJ and national ACLU board member, testified on Dec. 13 before the Senate Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee and Assembly Judiciary Committee, respectively, to express concerns that the proposed constitutional amendment would almost inevitably lead to partisan gerrymandering and undermine the rights of voters.

“We thank the lawmakers who pulled this proposed amendment and the officials who valued principle over partisanship. But even more, we thank the hundreds of advocates and individuals who pushed our leaders to withdraw this amendment from this week’s voting schedule,” said ACLU-NJ Executive Director Amol Sinha. “The people of New Jersey demonstrated that the real work of democracy begins after elections, when we hold our officials accountable to the people they serve.”

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