The New Jersey Senate
was established as the upper house
of the New Jersey Legislature
by the Constitution of 1844, replacing the Legislative Council
. From 1844 until 1965 New Jersey's counties elected one Senator, each. Under the 1844 Constitution the term of office was three years. The 1947 Constitution changed the term to four years. Since 1968 it has consisted of 40 Senators, who are elected in a "2-4-4" cycle, representing districts with average populations of 210,359 (2000 figures). The "2-4-4" cycle was put into place so that Senate elections can reflect the changes made to the district boundaries on the basis of the decennial United States Census
. (If the cycle were not put into place, then the boundaries would sometimes be four years out of date before being used for Senate elections. Rather, with the varied term, the boundaries are only two years out of date). Thus elections for Senate seats take place in years ending with a "1", "3" or "7" (i.e. next elections in 2011, 2013 and 2017).
Interim appointments are made to fill vacant legislative seats by the county committee or committees of the party of the vacating person (since a constitutional amendment passed on November 8, 1988). The office is on the ballot for the next general election (even if the other Senate seats are not up for election in that year, such as in years ending with a "5" or "9", such as 2009 or 2015), unless the vacancy... Read More