Believe it or not, it’s not too early to start worrying about whether the 2014 party primary elections might be delayed because of the ongoing court fights over redistricting and other issues. That’s right, the same legal battles that delayed this year’s primaries from early March to late May. That’s not a prediction — just saying it could happen. It’s probably more productive for now to get up to date on where the ongoing court battles stand. A lot has happened since spring. The primaries were held, runoffs came in July and there was a pretty big national election in November.
First, let’s get the legal cases straight:
The redistricting case: The Legislature redrew district maps in 2011, mostly to favor Republicans. Objections were raised, mostly from Democrats. As the legal process played out, the primaries were delayed. The U.S. Supreme Court told a three-judge federal panel in San Antonio to draw interim maps, one of which allowed state Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth to run and eventually be re-elected in a district that looked just like her former district. The new lines also created a U.S. House seat sprawling from north Fort Worth to west Dallas, a seat won by state Rep. Marc Veasey of Fort Worth. …
The voter ID case: The Legislature also approved, and Gov. Rick Perry signed, a measure requiring voters to show some form of government-issued identification at the polls. The state was required under the Voting Rights Act to submit that measure to federal review, and a three-judge panel in Washington, D.C., refused to grant approval. Texas has appealed that decision to the Supreme Court.
The Voting Rights Act case: The redistricting case and the voter ID case went to court under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires Texas and some other states with a history of racial discrimination to get federal approval of new election laws before those laws can be implemented.