December 01, 2006
Follow the bouncing election dates

As we have seen, the runoff dates for CD23 and HD29 are a week apart, with CD23 coming first on December 12. That date, which is the Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe for Catholics, has drawn complaints by Latino organizations. They have now taken those complaints to the Justice Department.

LULAC has objected to the date for the District 23 runoff because it falls on the Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe, a religious holy day celebrated by many Catholic Hispanics by attending Mass, holding processions and family gatherings and other events. The district that stretches from near El Paso to South Texas and takes in several counties on the border has a 61 percent Hispanic voting age population.

"The state representative district is predominantly white-Anglo population and would not be affected by 'El dia de la Virgen de Guadalupe'," LULAC national attorney Luis Vera Jr. said in the DOJ filing, using the Spanish translation of the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

The 23rd district's voters are "adversely affected by setting it on the holiest of religious holidays. There can possibly be no other reason for the different dates than an attempt to suppress the Latino vote."

Vera also contends the state could have set the District 23 [runoff date] on a Saturday and that it did not have to be on a Tuesday.


Because Texas has a history of discriminating against minority voters, it is required to seek approval of election changes and decisions from the Department of Justice. Vera is asking DOJ not to approve the runoff date unless the state extends early voting to include a Saturday or Sunday and the election date is not on a holy day and a day that provides adequate time for all voters to be notified of the election.

I'm not equipped to evaluate the legal merits of LULAC's complaint here, but I will say that I can think of no good reason why early voting would not include both a Saturday and a Sunday. According to South Texas Chisme, who has been following the backs and forths in this, the Bexar County Commissioners' Court has extended early voting to do just that, in defiance of the Secretary of State. I really don't understand what the state's resistance is about here, especially if by adding the extra Early Voting dates the complaint to Justice would be dropped. Well, okay, I do understand their resistance, but I'm trying to think of a non-partisan objection. And I'm coming up blank.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 01, 2006 to Election 2006 | TrackBack

It's really easy answer as to why the dates are different. One race has to have a filing period and the other does not.

Posted by: rl on December 2, 2006 4:50 AM