By LeaAnne Klentzman
In the ever changing world of Texas politics, Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbott has asked a federal Judicial panel in San Antonio for a stay of the candidate filing period for Texas Senate, Texas House of Representatives and U.S. House of Representatives for the 2012 primary election.
This past Monday, Abbott filed documents with the three-judge panel in San Antonio for “Immediate clarification regarding the candidate filing period for the 2012 Texas Senate, Texas House of Representatives and U.S. House of Representatives elections.” The current deadline for filing to run for those positions is December 15, 2011, however, since the lines for the constituency that a candidate would serve are unclear, it appears impossible for them to file.
In a press release Abbott said, “Texas filed a motion with the San Antonio panel Monday urging the court to stay all deadlines and requirements governing candidate filing and administration of the 2012 elections for the Texas House of Representatives, the Texas Senate and Texas’s congressional districts, until further order by the three-judge panel in San Antonio or the U.S. Supreme Court.” Thus political party chairs across the state have been told to stop accepting candidate filings.
This is yet another fly in the ointment for the new electoral districts drawn based on the 2010 census. Right now, Redistricting voter lines in Texas is a tangled mess. For example, there are areas in the county that have been changed from one state representative district to another by virtue of each different map. At last count, some Richmond/Rosenberg residents have been in three different state rep districts based on the three maps proffered.
Every decade, based on the latest census, government must assess and realign voter lines to best represent their constituents. It is 2011 and the 2010 census has been confirmed, so, new voter lines were drawn from the precinct level to the state and finally to the federal level. Those new electoral districts were sent to the Department of Justice for approval, as Texas has a history of violating the 1964 Voter’s Right’s Act.
When the maps made it to the Federal system for approval, they failed. The line were redrawn, lawsuits were filed and today the issue is still being fought in the courts. So in an effort to get some clarity, Abbott asked that all state and federal candidate filings be stopped and the deadline, which is Thursday, be either postponed or moved.
No matter how this plays out, it appears that there is no way for all the races to take place during the scheduled March Primary. Which means either all races will be moved to a later date (maybe May) or there will be two sets of primaries; one for the county races in March and another for the state and federal races in May. Which begs yet another question, What if there is a runoff in March? Those races will have to be completed in May, meaning the electronic voting machines will be tied until after the runoff, so then what?
As of Friday the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments for and against the Texas re-districting maps. Only problem is: the hearing will not take place until January 9, 2012.
Cutting to the chase since the politicians can’t seem to get along, in the end, it is just going to cost more money as multiple elections are expensive.