This afternoon, the San Antonio three-judge panel indicated that the April unified primary election will be postponed and that it was probable (but not a certainty) that the new primary date will be May 29th. As previously reported, on Tuesday, county clerks and elections administrators testified that they need 88 days of lead time to prepare for a primary election from the date that new district maps are issued. Today at the hearing, the Texas Secretary of State’s office indicated that this timeline could be shrunk to 77 days and reduced even further if military ballots were accepted for a short period of time after the primary. Consequently, new maps need to be in place sometime between early and mid-March in order to maintain the May 29th primary date.
Chairman Munisteri discussed with the Court the problems a May 29th primary creates for the party’s delegate selection process for the RPT State Convention. He reiterated that it is impossible to comply with the current Texas Election Code as it pertains to delegate selection, with the primary on May 29th and the State Convention in the first week of June. He strongly urged the Court to issue an order that would allow the State Republican Executive Committee to adopt a new delegate selection process which varies from the Election Code. He told the court that if there is sufficient time for planning, that in consultation with party leadership, he had several different options in mind which: would allow district conventions to still occur on schedule, allow for a May 29th primary, and still allow for a convention the next week. In general terms, he suggested different options which would completely de-couple the selection of delegates to the State Convention from the primary election.
The Court indicated it was very likely that they would grant such a request from the State Party, provided it received U.S. Department of Justice pre-clearance. Chairman Munisteri made the case that DOJ pre-clearance is not required in a case where the changes are made as a
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