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Why Does Redistricting Matter In New Jersey?

New Jersey Map - File / Credit: AP

New Jersey Map – File / Credit: AP

levon_feature Levon Putney
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TRENTON, NJ (CBSNewYork / AP) - Redistricting matters in two ways, says Rutgers University political science professor emeritus Gerald Pomper.

WCBS 880’s Levon Putney: Pomper Says Redistricting Is Tricky

He says, you want to give voters a chance to express themselves by getting to put Democrats or Republicans in office.

“So, you want to make the districts competitive between the parties,” Pomper told WCBS 880 reporter Levon Putney.

He says you want to do that while trying to keep lawmakers in their home districts to serve people whose issues they already know.

“On the other hand, you want more competition and the possibility that some of the people are going to lose their jobs, and it’s balancing that desire for stability on the one hand and competitiveness on the other.”

Pomper says that’s what makes redistricting tricky.

The panel chosen to redraw boundaries for New Jersey‘s 40 legislative districts has formally approved the election map proposed by Democrats.

Rutgers University political science professor Alan Rosenthal, the panel’s tie-breaking member, cast the decisive ballot in Sunday’s 6-5 vote.

The results were expected, since Rosenthal had privately informed Democrats and Republicans about his decision Saturday night. That came shortly after the 11-member panel heard final presentations from both sides at the Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick, where commission members had been meeting since last weekend.

The new map will be used when all 120 legislators are up for election in November. The deadline for lawmakers to file papers to run is April 11.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)