In Feb. 2022, the New Jersey Redistricting Commission (NJRC) chose a fresh legislative map in what was lauded as a historic bipartisan vote.
As an advisor to both the commission’s chair and its sole nonpartisan member, Professor Sam Wang was instrumental in the decision, but some Republicans later criticized the map, saying that Wang manipulated data to better serve Democratic interests.
A Sept. 6 report by the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation (SCI), however, found that the allegations of data manipulation were without merit.
The findings confirm the results of Princeton’s 2022 investigation, which also found no evidence of research misconduct by Wang, who serves as director of the Princeton Gerrymandering Project (PGP).
After a lawsuit filed by some state Republicans was dismissed in court in Feb. 2022, the New Jersey Globe reported in April 2022 that anonymous sources connected to PGP believed Wang had manipulated data to favor Democrats.
In response to allegations suggesting “impropriety in the development of the final map,” the New Jersey SCI launched an investigation into complaints “that [NJRC] failed to provide equal and fair representation to the state’s voting public.”
One year after the University closed its investigation, the SCI ultimately concluded that there was “there was no merit to the unspecified claims that data gathered and relied upon by the redistricting commission was improperly manipulated.”
However, the SCI also found that the current process for redistricting lacks guidance for “effective, transparent, uniform and trustworthy operation of the commission.” This included the lack of guidance regarding the responsibilities or the scope of the Congressional Redistricting Commission’s chair.
Wang praised the findings in a post on X (formerly known as Twitter), writing that the report “highlight[s] the need for open processes, fairness standards and data transparency” in New Jersey redistricting.
He also noted that PGP contributed to a 2019 report that recommended a number of changes to increase “transparency, accountability, and representation” in the legislative apportionment process, and wrote that he is in favor of “full implementation” of already-existing laws mandating transparency for voting data.
Sources in the ‘Globe’ also accused Wang of creating a hostile workplace environment and of having a Title IX allegation against him. The University has not directly addressed these allegations, but a University spokesperson said in Aug. 2022 denied the existence of any Title IX allegation and stated that Princeton had officially closed all internal investigations regarding Wang.
Isa Yip is a head News editor for the ‘Prince.’
Annie Rupertus is an associate News editor for the ‘Prince.’
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