Friday, December 16, 2011

Texas Political Parties Agree to April 3rd Primary

Updated Friday December 16, 2011 @ 3:15pm - Court signs order for April 3rd primary

Texas Democrats and Republicans agreed to move the unified primary election from March 6th to April 3rd, avoiding the costs and confusion of holding a two-part primary across a two month span. In his filing for a redistricting map stay with the SCOTUS, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott asked for bifurcated primary with most races being held in March, but other races being moved to May. AG Abbott's bifurcated primary idea turned out to be very unpopular with most other Republicans in Texas.

The three judge federal district court panel in San Antonio asked the parties to try to work something out after a day-long hearing Tuesday over what to do in the absence of legal maps for legislative and congressional races. Some wanted to split the primaries — leaving the presidential and other statewide elections alone and moving only the contests that needed maps. But that's an expensive and complicated proposition, doubling costs of elections for counties and for the state, and endangering the precinct elections needed before the state political parties can hold their early summer conventions.

Today, The United States District Court for the Western District of Texas in San Antonio accepted the deal reached by the Democratic and Republican parties, and signed an order for a single primary for all federal, state and local offices — including for POTUS — to be held on Tuesday April 3, 2012:

January 31, 2012 - If changes in county election precinct boundaries are necessary to give effect to a redistricting plan, each commissioners court shall order the changes on or before January 31, 2012, as described in Texas Election Code § 42.032. The requirements of Texas Election Code § 42.036 are suspended for an order of a commissioner’s court adopted to comply with this section of this Court’s Order.

February 1, 2012 - New residency deadline for candidates seeking election to the Texas House and Texas Senate. (There is no residency requirement for Congress).

February 1, 2012, 6:00 p.m. - New deadline of court-ordered reopened filing period, in which candidates for all offices have the opportunity to amend, withdraw or file a new application for the ballot.

February 3, 2012 - New deadline for Democratic and Republican county executive committees to conduct drawing for candidate order on ballot.

April 3, 2012 - Date of the 2012 General Primary Election.

April 12, 2012 - The deadline for county chairs to submit canvassed returns for statewide and district offices to the state party chair.

April 14 or April 21, 2012 - Date of County and Senatorial District Conventions, as determined by the State Chair of each political party.

June 5, 2012 - Date of the 2012 General Primary Runoff Election.

Earlier this week the San Antonio Court signed an order for new election filing deadlines:

  • The filing deadline for all federal, state, county, and local offices is extended until Monday, December 19, at 6 p.m. (local time). The order provides that the filing period will be reopened at a later date after legislative and congressional maps are done to let additional candidates file or let existing candidates amend or withdraw their applications.
  • Any currently filed candidate may withdraw his or her application and obtain a full refund of the filing fee.
  • Candidates may continue to file for state house, state senate, and congressional seats. To file, candidates need only to list their lawful residence as of the date of the application and the district they want to run in. Candidates may chose either the state’s map or the court-drawn interim map. Candidates will have an opportunity to amend their applications at a later date.
  • The requirement in the Texas Election Code that party rule changes be filed with the Texas Secretary of State on or before the 30th day before precinct conventions is suspended for the 2012 cycle.

Texas voters will be left out of the multi-state March 6th Super Tuesday election event. The three federal courts looking at different aspects of Texas redistricting — including the U.S. Supreme Court — have scheduled hearings on the different versions of the redistricting maps next month.

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in San Antonio - Court Order - Case 5:11 Cv 00360 OLG JES XR Document 563:

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