New Jersey Non-partisan Legislative Map
New Jersey is in the midst of its decennial partisan gerrymandering of legislative district lines to ensure that the Republicans and Democrats, who combined are barely 49% of the electorate, retain their 100% representation in the New Jersey legislature. In the last three legislative elections in New Jersey with no statewide offices on the ballot, the turnout was: 32%, 31% and 33%; the lowest in the history of the state. The Republicans and Democrats must be doing something right, to be able to keep so many voters, mostly the independents, away from the polls.
The official map will not be released until this weekend, April 3, 2011; but here is a map based solely on compactness, contiguity and community of interest.
Gerrymandered districts increase the power of statewide political parties by making local organizing impossible. Most people do not even know what district they live in or who their state legislators are. The lines are drawn to ensure safe districts for both parties.
George Bush in his new book says that the preponderance of safe districts is responsible for the increasingly partisan nature of politics. Because representatives have safe seats in November, the only threat to their political survival is from highly activist extremists in their own parties; so the Democrats are becoming increasingly liberal, while the Republicans are increasingly conservative. Compromisers are increasingly vulnerable.