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Redistricting may delay Texas primaries

Feb. 15, 2012 at 3:31 PM   |   Comments

SAN ANTONIO, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Lack of agreement on the redistricting of Texas' congressional districts has put into question whether the state's primaries can be held in April, a judge said.

A day-long hearing in San Antonio Tuesday produced no consensus on the maps of the 36 congressional districts -- a gain of four because of population increases documented by the 2010 U.S. Census. A three-judge panel said, however, it hoped the parties could reach agreement on statewide districts so primary elections could be held in April, whether April 3 as scheduled or another date, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia, who leads the judicial panel hearing the case, told the state attorney general's office and the plaintiffs challenging the maps to come up with an agreement for state Senate and state House districts and present their plans to the court Wednesday, the American-Statesman said.

When the judges asked several county elections administrators attending the hearing whether they thought an April 24 primary election was feasible, only one raised his hand affirmatively.

Bexar County Elections Administrator Jacqueline Callanen said May 29 would be the most reasonable date for a 2012 primary election.

"That would allow us the needed time to do the due diligence," she said. "There's just no button for us to push."

In November, a special U.S. court panel rejected a redistricting plan by Texas, saying the redrawing of the state's congressional map will be done by a court in Texas. Preliminary redistricting now must be done by a federal court in San Antonio.

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