TEXAS REDISTRICTING & ELECTION LAW

Updates about ongoing redistricting litigation in the Lone Star State and coverage of election law more generally. This website's goal is to try to make sure the redistricting process and litigation over voting law is as transparent and accessible as possible to the public. Hopefully, it will be of some use to a broad range of interested parties, both lawyers and non-lawyers. Have questions, comments, suggestions, additional content, or a redistricting joke (or two)? Feel free to contact me: Michael Li, michael.li@mlilaw.com, 202.681.0641.
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[Updated as of 12/12/11]

With the 2012 election process having kicked into gear and action now taking place in three courts, here’s a combined timeline of what’s on deck the next few weeks.  

December 12:  The D.C. panel in the preclearance case holds a telephonic status conference at 3 p.m. (ET).  

The DOJ and intervenors in the preclearance case also are due to file briefs by 5 p.m. (ET) on what benchmarks the D.C. court should use at trial to determine if retrogression occurs under the state’s maps. [Cancelled by court after 12/12 status conference]

In the San Antonio case, the state has said it will file a motion to get clarification about filing deadlines for state house, senate, and congressional districts.  It’s possible we also could see other motions by parties in that case.

December 13:  The San Antonio court holds a status conference at 10 a.m. to take up possible changes to the election schedule.  The state and redistricting plaintiffs are to confer with political party representatives and state election officials beforehand to see if agreement can be reached about needed changes.

December 14:  The State of Texas must respond in the D.C. case by 5 p.m. (ET) to briefing by DOJ and intervenors retrogression benchmarks. [Cancelled by court after 12/12 status conference]

December 15:  The candidate filing period closes at 6 p.m. (local time).

December 16:  State chairs must deliver lists of certified statewide candidates to county chairs.

December 20:  Ballot order draw in each county.  

December 21:  The parties’ opening briefs are due at the Supreme Court by 2 p.m. (ET) in the appeal over the interim maps.

December 22:  Deadline for county chairs to deliver lists of candidates to county and state election officials.  This is also the date by which the Texas Secretary of State recommends county election officials submit precinct boundary changes and polling places changes to DOJ for preclearance.

January 3:  Parties’ reply briefs in the interim-map appeal are due at the Supreme Court by 2 p.m. (ET)

Early January:  In most counties, the printing of ballots requires 2-3 weeks. The first mail ballots are due to be sent out January 21, meaning that printing will take place in early January.  Precinct boundaries also will need to be finalized by this date.

January 9:  Oral argument before the Supreme Court at 1 p.m. (ET) on the interim-map appeal.

January 13:  Date set by the San Antonio panel by which counties must send out new voter certificates listing the voter’s precinct and the districts that he or she is in.

January 21:  Date by which federal election law requires that military mail ballots be sent out by.

February 6:  Last day to register to vote.

February 21-March 2:  Early voting period (for now) for the March 6 primary.

March 6:  Primary election day (for now).  

March 6-11: The Democratic and Republican parties hold their precinct conventions to select delegates for senate district and county conventions.

March 24:  Democratic and Republican parties hold their senate district and county conventions and select delegates by senate district for their state conventions.

April 7:  Deadline for counties to send mail ballots for the primary runoff to military and overseas voters.

May 12:
  Municipal and local elections in many Texas jurisdictions.

May 14-18
:  Early voting for primary runoffs. 

May 22:  
Primary runoff elections in Texas.  This is also the date the state has suggested for legislative and congressional primaries. (The state has not suggested a period for early voting for legislative and congressional primaries, but the normal primary early voting period is 10 days, which would cause it to overlap with the May 12 municipal elections.)

One important date that is not yet set is the date for trial in the preclearance case in Washington. It’s also not clear if a bifurcated primary is held (or the primary date is moved in its entirety) when runoff elections would be.  This page will be updated as more dates are set and additional information becomes available.