Judges May Decide Fate Of Texas Primaries

A three judge panel in San Antonio has to decide whether an April third primary in Texas is still possible, as both sides in the long-running redistricting battle harden their positions.

Neither the state nor minority rights groups appear to be budging after court-ordered negotiations. The Texas primaries are scheduled for April 3rd, but a hearing by a three-judge panel in San Antonio may find that date impossible, without a compromise on temporary voting maps between the state and a coalition of minority rights groups.

University of Houston Political Science Professor Dr. Richard Murray says there are a lot of players in the negotiations.

"Well, one of the big problems is — even on the state side — you've got someone like Congressman Barton, who's an intervenor, and he doesn't necessarily agree with what the Attorney General is trying to negotiate. But on the plaintiff side, you've got about ten different parties, and there are significant differences between them as well as between what the state is offering." 

Dr. Murray says April 3rd appears unlikely.

"One of the basic problems about holding an election in Texas or anywhere else in the country is you have to mail out ballots for overseas military personnel at least 45 days before your election. You know, you got to print a ballot, and people know what they're voting for. So I think April 3rd is unrealistic. April 17th is just barely realistic, assuming something gets done this week. But after that, we're looking at a primary in May or June." 

At stake is the political balance of power in Texas and Congress.

"The level of public interest here is not tremendous. The level of interest among the political class in intense."

A compromise offered by the Texas Attorney General last week was widely rejected by democrats and a coalition of minority rights groups.

Bio photo of Ed Mayberry

Ed Mayberry

Local Anchor, All Things Considered

Ed Mayberry has worked in radio since 1971, with many of those years spent on the rock 'n' roll disc jockey side of the business...