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Opinion: Vote ‘no’ on postponing redistricting

Typing Letter to the Editor for the Opinion page.

In less than one month, the election of our lifetime — already underway — will conclude. On our ballot are decisions that will determine everything from the fate of our democracy to how equitable our schools will be in the coming years. Please make sure to vote, and to send your ballot in as early as possible so that any problems can be remedied before Nov. 3.

The most secure way to vote is by using the drop off box in front of the Cranbury Police Department, which is securely emptied every day. Voting at the polls on Election Day will be by provisional paper ballots, whereas mailed in ballots will be counted starting on 10 days prior to Nov. 3, so if you want your vote to be counted and tallied on Nov. 3, vote by mail and early.

Importantly, your ballot includes a ballot measure question — question 3 — regarding postponing redistricting by two years when census results arrive late. This year, due to COVID-19, the results will be delayed. However, the question is not asking you to decide what will happen this year, but rather, to amend the New Jersey Constitution so that the effects of COVID-19 linger for generations.

There is no need to make a permanent change for a one-time problem. Moreover, there are much better ways to permanently align ourselves with the census, in particular, moving elections to even years (as is the case in 48 other states). Elections in even years will be cheaper, increase participation, and allow redistricting immediately after every census, without delays.

Postponing redistricting to years ending with “3” (as is proposed in question 3) has no advantages, but has considerable disadvantages as it dilutes the power of communities in areas of New Jersey that have grown the most since the last census. The nonpartisan Fair Districts New Jersey coalition, which has been working to reform New Jersey’s redistricting process so it better serves the residents of our state, is urging a “no” vote on question 3. A vote for the amendment is a vote for further disenfranchisement of voters, especially in more diverse communities, who will be denied fair representation for two years. It will undermine redistricting for decades, and will help politicians, not people.

Please consider voting “no” so we can move away from gerrymandering and continue to work towards a fairer and stronger democracy of the people in New Jersey.

Laura Zurfluh


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