Census data leads to changes in Paterson ward boundaries | Paterson Times Paterson Times

Census data leads to changes in Paterson ward boundaries

By Jayed Rahman
Published: January 15, 2022

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The boundaries of the city’s 4 of 6 wards have been changed due to U.S. Census data from the 2020 count.

Data showed 1st and 4th Wards saw significant population gains relative to other wards over the past ten years. As a result, both wards had to cede populations to other wards to re-balance political representation. The city’s 1st and 4th Wards will cede areas to the 3rd and 5th wards.

Wards 2 and 6 were unchanged.

Kevin Zelinsky of Remington & Vernick Engineers, consulting firm that devised the re-balanced maps, said state law requires less than 10 percent deviation between the lowest and highest populated wards in a municipality.

Zelinsky’s firm produced two scenarios.

Scenario One (Click to view map)

Under the first scenario, the 1st Ward loses District 10, 924 people, to the 5th Ward. And the 4th Ward loses District 11 Census blocks 1008, 2003-2005, 2007, and 2008, 745 people, to the 3rd Ward.

Scenario Two (Click to view map)

Under the second scenario, the 1st Ward loses District 11, 2,245 people, to the 5th Ward; the 4th Ward loses District 5, 1,667 people, to the 3rd Ward; and the 5th Ward loses District 4 Census blocks 1009-1011, 490 people, to the 3rd Ward.

The 3rd Ward saw the slowest population growth over the past ten years.

“The best course that would be less disruptive to the community and the people would be Scenario One,” said councilwoman Ruby Cotton, who represents the 4th Ward. “It would impact less people.”

Cotton said Scenario Two shifts people from three wards instead of two wards in Scenario One.

The realignment commission, made up of Passaic County Board of Elections members and the City Clerk, opted for the second scenario.

Zelinsky said his aim was to re-balance the wards without breaking up communities and neighborhoods. He also did not want to displace elected officials or disenfranchise communities.

“Paterson, this will be the map for the next ten years,” said John Currie, chairman of the Passaic County Board of Elections, after the new map was approved by the Ward Realignment Commission on Thursday night.

Loss of voters for incumbents

Councilman Michael Jackson, who represents the 1st Ward, won District 11 in 2016. Councilwoman Ruby Cotton, who represents the 4th Ward, won District 5 in 2016. District level data was not available from the all mail-in 2020 ward elections. Jackson and Cotton will each lose approximately 70 of their voters as a result of the new map.


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