Texas’ political maps won’t change for the 2016 elections, a federal court has ruled in a decision intended to provide certainty for candidates, election officials and voters ahead of the upcoming cycle. A three-judge panel in San Antonio on Friday rejected a motion to temporarily block a set of redistricting maps passed by the Legislature in 2013 for Congress and the Texas House. Litigation on the maps remains pending, as civil rights groups claim they discriminate against minorities. The three-judge panel said it has not reached a final decision and that the current boundaries are being “used on an interim basis only.” However, the court made clear it has no intention to tweak the maps before the upcoming March primaries — a move that will avoid a repeat of 2012 when redistricting map litigation threw the election cycle into disarray and caused the primaries to be delayed from March to May. The ruling eases fears of Texas getting bumped from the “Super Tuesday” slate of March primaries.
“The 2016 elections will proceed as scheduled, without interruption or delay,” the court wrote.
Political boundaries passed by the Legislature in 2011 reshaped voting districts for Congress and the state House and Senate but were never implemented after a federal court in Washington ruled they discriminate against minorities.
Those maps were replaced by court-drawn boundaries in 2012 intended to serve as a temporary fix, but the Legislature adopted them, with only slight changes, as permanent maps the next year during a special session. The maps have been used for the last two election cycles.