Redistricting Map Still Not Resolved
by: Pat Hernandez, February 4, 2012 12:02:00 am
The process that has become as clear as mud began when Texas gained four congressional seats to reflect population changes in the past 10 years. But a once promising settlement in the redistricting battle has stalled, leaving the process once again far from a done deal.
Austin political consultant Bill Miller says it will likely force Texas to move its primary back from April 3.
"I thought there was a sense of urgency. I don't think there is one now. We're gonna be delayed, and your question about when is really the key question and that's uncertain. It's gonna be late. It's just a question of how late is late. But I do think the sense of urgency is gone in getting this deal moving, so we'll see where it goes."
No one is sure how the process will play out, but all sides agree that a settlement that looked possible earlier in the week is all but dead in the water. That means that Texas will have to push its primary back from April.
Lane Lewis chairs the Harris County Democratic Party. He expects some degree of Gerry-meandering anytime there is redistricting.
"The Republicans being for all intents and purposes, completely in control of the state Legislature, have gone above and beyond that, and not just hold on to their power, not just increase it, but to in my opinion, actively engage in the process of disenfranchising voters, so that people have a difficult, if not impossible opportunity to vote in individuals that represent their like-interests."
PH: "Do you think that the justices are gonna take that into consideration?"
The problem with redistricting is nothing new, but Houston political analyst Nancy Sims thinks the state is in complete disarray when it comes to the election process. Some candidates might not be sure of who they're representing, and constituents might not know who to vote for.
"Some states have taken the process to redistricting commissions that seem to have better luck than having your legislature do it."
PH: "Will this wind up being a lesson for folks who want to draw the lines?"
Sims: "Well, it took us half of the decade of 2000 to figure it out Pat so, I don't know that it will get better. We would hope the people would learn lessons. So I don't have a lot of hope for that, unless we change the methodology that we use."
There's been talk about splitting the primary, leaving the Presidential and other unaffected races on April 3, and moving Congressional and state Legislative races to a later date.