ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — The New Jersey Apportionment Commission approved new state legislative maps on 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 H. Kean Jr. and Cosmo A. Cirillo cast the opposing votes. Some towns in Essex County will be reassigned from their current districts to new ones.
Towns that will remain in the same district include Cedar Grove in the 40th; East Orange and Orange in the 34th; Irvington and part of Newark in the 28th; the other part of Newark in the 29th; and Livingston, Millburn, Roseland and West Orange in the 27th.
In addition to Cedar Grove, the new 40th district will include Caldwell, Essex Fells, Fairfield, North Caldwell, Verona and West Caldwell. The redrawn 34th district will include Belleville, Bloomfield, Glen Ridge and Nutley, plus Orange and East Orange remaining.
Along with the four towns that will remain in the 27th, the district will also include Montclair. Both South Orange and Maplewood will join Irvington and part of Newark in the 28th.
The Apportionment Commission is made up of five Democrats, five Republicans and an 11th tiebreaking member not in either party. It is co-chaired by one Democrat and one Republican, this year Democrat LeRoy J. Jones Jr. and Republican Al Barlas. The 11th member was Philip S. Carchman. The rest of the commission is Democrats Cirillo, Laura Matos, Gary Taffet and Diane T. Testa, and Republicans Kean, Jon M. Bramnick, Linda A. DuBois and Michael B. 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.”