The month-long registration period for the March 1 Democratic and Republican primaries begins in four weeks but don’t bet the farm the election will be held on that day. If the primaries are delayed once or even twice — as it happened four years ago — blame it on the four-year redistricting fight. You see, as of Friday morning it was unclear whether candidates for congressional and Texas House seats would run under the “temporary” maps the Legislature and then a federal court in San Antonio approved two years ago. The same three-judge panel is expected to rule soon whether the 2014 maps can be used for the rest of this decade or if the boundaries of some districts must be redrawn to protect the voting rights of racial minorities, as the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 stipulates.
The problem is, no one knows when the ruling will come — much less anticipate what the court might decide.
“We don’t have any information that anything is cooking and I’d be surprised if anybody tells you they do,” Houston attorney Chad Dunn said recently. Dunn represents the Texas Democratic Party, one of more than a dozen plaintiffs challenging the constitutionality of the maps the Republican-dominated Legislature approved in the first of three special sessions in the summer of 2013.