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New Jersey Senate

Coa PicSeal_of_New_Jersey.svg
NameNew Jersey State Senate
LegislatureNew Jersey State Legislature
House TypeUpper House
Session RoomNew Jersey Senate floor.jpg
Term LimitsNone
New SessionJanuary 12, 2011
Leader1 TypePresident of the Senate
Leader1Stephen M. Sweeney
Election1January 12, 2010
Leader2 TypePresident Pro Tempore
Leader2Nia Gill
Election2January 12, 2010
Leader3 TypeMajority Leader
Leader3Barbara Buono
Election3January 12, 2010
Leader4 TypeMinority Leader
Leader4Thomas Kean, Jr.
Election4January 8, 2008
Term Length4 years
AuthorityArticle IV, New Jersey Constitution
Last Election1November 6, 2007
(40 seats)
Next Election1November 8, 2011
(40 seats)
RedistrictingLegislative Control
Political Groups1Democratic Party (24)
Republican Party (16)
Meeting PlaceState Senate Chamber
New Jersey State House
Trenton, New Jersey

     Home | Legislature | New Jersey Senate

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 (If the cycle were not put into place, then the boundaries would sometimes be four years out of date before being used for Senate elections. Rather, with the varied term, the boundaries are only two years out of date).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 occurred within 51 days of the election. Then the appointment stands until the following general election.

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