Hunterdon Commissioners Oppose Proposed Reapportionment Plan That Divides County
Updated: Feb 17, 2022
Hunterdon County’s Commissioners, at the February 15th meeting, supported testimony by
Board Director John E. Lanza submitted to the New Jersey Legislative Apportionment
Commission, calling for all of Hunterdon County to be included in one legislative district, as
addressed in the state Constitution, and to include Hunterdon with bordering counties that have a community of interests.
Lanza said, “It has been a long-established redistricting principle, and a condition addressed in the state constitution, that counties with populations capable of fitting within a single legislative district should remain intact.”
Article IV, Section II, Paragraph 1 of the New Jersey Constitution states that each district shall
be composed, wherever practicable, of one single county, and, if not so practicable, of two or
more contiguous whole counties.
Lanza continued, “That principle was ignored in the 2011 re-districting by placing Hunterdon
communities in three districts; 15, 16 and 23. And the draft maps presented so far continue the
damage – placing many Hunterdon communities in a Mercer County dominated district.
Hunterdon County’s population is just short of 130,000 people, while a full legislative district is
to be around 232,000 people. Clearly, Hunterdon County should be wholly within one district.”
In Lanza’s letter to the Apportionment Commission he wrote, ‘Demographically and
geographically, Hunterdon shares more in common with its neighbors to the east (Somerset)
and north (Warren) than it does with Mercer County.
By virtue of the relationships amongst the neighboring county governments, there are
communities in interest with Warren and Somerset, that do not exist with Mercer County,
including sharing a community college and jail consolidation.
Hunterdon’s court system is also linked to Somerset and Warren in the Supreme Court’s
delineation of Vicinage XIII.
Western Somerset County and all of Warren County face similar public issues, confronting and
controlling sprawl, preserving and maintaining open space and farmland, and fighting the
perpetual cuts to school funding from the state.’
Lanza cited to the Commission the complexity of placing Hunterdon communities in three
different legislative districts, ‘To highlight the most glaring flaw of the one draft map one must
consider the following scenario; over one-third of Hunterdon’s population feeds the Hunterdon Central Regional High School sending district (Flemington, Raritan, Readington, Delaware and East Amwell).
Under the one map, the 45,000-50,000 citizens who share this common high school will be
represented by three different sets of legislators, in three different districts, and will have a
determinative say as to whom those legislators will be in none of them.’
Lanza concluded, “The good news is that the two competing maps are only drafts. The 11th
member of the Commission, retired Judge Philip S. Carchman, has the ability to improve and
correct either map, or even create one of his own.
Hunterdon County should never have been divided between legislative districts in 2011, and the 2022 redistricting effort should be the time that that wrong is righted.”
Read Director John E. Lanza's Full Statement here: