The parties to the contested redistricting litigation pending in the San Antonio Federal District Court, have until February 6, 2012 to reach a settlement, if they want to hold primary elections in Texas on April 3, 2012. The date of the primary had already been moved from March 6 to April 3rd. It is that date that now appears to be in jeopardy should there be no agreement by February 6. And, of course, no voter registration cards will be sent until all lines are drawn and approved. Panola County voter registrar Cheyenne Lampley stated, “People have been calling asking why they haven’t received their voter registration card, but all I can tell them is that the legislature must finish its job and draw correct redistricting lines before anyone gets a voter card.”
However, there is more at stake than just the election date. New filing periods have yet to be determined, as do dates to draw county election precinct lines, deadlines to mail out voter registration certifications, early voting periods, and many other election code deadlines and dates.
In a February 2nd email to all party chairs, county clerks, elections administrators, voter registrars and county judges, the Texas Secretary of State advised election officials that without an agreement, the date of the primary election for Texas Republicans and Democrats will have to be moved for the second time. If the parties are unable to reach a settlement that complies with the Voting Rights Act, they have to file briefs with the court by February 10, 2012 with oral arguments set for 8 a.m. on February 15, 2012. The court’s ruling would come sometime after that date and would be subject to further appeals.