N.J. redistricting panel begins work on map

    The commission that will redraw New Jersey’s legislative districts has to come up with a map by early next month.

    Critics have said politicians will try to draw the districts to protect their own party, but the tie-breaking commission member vows he’ll ensure the process is fair.

    Rutgers University political science professor Alan Rosenthal said his major role is to resolve differences between the five Democrats and five Republicans on the commission.

    “Disagreement is to be expected. In fact, it’s to be welcomed. It’s healthy in a diverse society such as ours,” Rosenthal said. “Dealing with disagreement is what representative democracy is all about, and that’s the challenge before this commission.”

    Rosenthal said a major task will be to determine how minorities are represented in the redrawn districts. He said he won’t accept a map that has fewer districts where political parties are competitive.

    Rosenthal said he’d like to see commission members agree on a map. But, if they come up with two different versions, Rosenthal said he’ll decide.

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