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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The Republican Party of Texas outlined its proposed alterations to the state’s election schedule in a filing made on Monday with the San Antonio court.

The RPT said the changes were needed because “it is very unlikely that a final interim plan will be adopted in time to conduct the planned March 6 General Primary.”

Among the changes under the proposal:

  • The March 6 primary would be limited to contests for President of the United States, United States Senator, Railroad Commissioner, Texas Supreme Court, Court of Criminal Appeals, Chief and Associate Justice of a Courts of Appeals, District Judge, Criminal District Judge, Family District Judge, and District Attorney. 
     
  • The primary for all other races - including contests for legislative, congressional seats, state board of education and county commission seats as well as justice of the peace, sheriff, and constable - would be May 29, with runoffs on August 14
  • The precinct lines used in the 2010 election would continue to be used for the March 6 primary.  Likewise, senate district conventions would be held on March 24 using the current (pre-redistricting) senate districts.
  • All filings made to date for legislative or congressional seats would be deemed void by order of the court, and the Democratic and Republican parties would be barred from accepting any new such applications until a new filing deadline was established by the court. 
  • All filing fees paid to date by state house, senate, and congressional candidates would be refundable upon request to the candidate.  In addition, a candidate seeking a refund would be eligible to file for another district or office notwithstanding provisions of the Texas Election Code that prohibit a withdrawing candidate from filing for another office in the same cycle.

RPT chair, Steve Munisteri, told the court that he strongly opposed moving the Republican presidential primary, explaining in bolded text that:

Munisteri cannot emphasize enough to this court that moving the date of the Texas presidential primary, aside from placing difficulty, nay nearly impossible burdens on the administration of the Republican Party at all levels, but especially at the most basic level where it is wholly conducted by volunteers, will cause this court to likely change the result of the national Republican nomination for President of the United States.

Munisteri also said that it was virtually impossible at this point to move his party’s June 8-9 state convention, noting that the limited availability of space large enough to host a convention with over 14,000 delegates and also explaining that the RPT had already incurred $605,461 in contractual obligations related to the convention.

In a footnote, the RPT stated that its counsel had conferred with counsel for the Texas Democratic Party over the weekend but had not been able to reach an agreement, at least as of the time of the filing.

Here’s the Republican Party’s filing:

http://tinyurl.com/c9h6pbw

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