Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

How about we use these precincts for now?

And here’s an update on the county redistricting lawsuit.

A federal court has asked Harris County and the plaintiffs suing it over its redistricting plan for county commissioner precincts to prepare briefs on whether it would be legal to conduct the 2012 elections using current precinct lines.

Commissioners Court adopted a redistricting plan Aug. 9, seeking to make the population in the four precincts roughly equal; the north and west of the county grew much faster than the south and east in the last decade, throwing the balance off.

Latino activists sued, saying the new boundaries for the southeast precinct, Precinct 2, amount to an “illegal gerrymander” that dilutes Hispanic voting power. Republican Jack Morman ousted two-term Democratic incumbent Sylvia Garcia in last fall’s election.

Neither the plaintiffs nor the county object to conducting the 2012 elections using the existing precinct lines; Morman is not up for election until 2014. It’s unclear, however, whether it is legal to move forward with the existing lines.

See here for some background; recall that the Justice Department has not yet precleared the proposed map. While Precinct 2 is clearly the crux of the dispute, having the 2012 election under the current lines could be interesting in Precinct 3 if a decent Democratic candidate shows up. I’m pretty sure the proposed map makes Precinct 3 more Republican – this is the Commissioners’ map, after all, and they’re not going to do anything to make their lives or re-elections more difficult. Briefs are due November 3, so something needs to be done before filing season opens. Maybe the federal court in San Antonio has some extra time on its hands to do another interim map. Anyway, we’ll see what happens.

UPDATE: Received the following in email from Sylvia Garcia:

The plaintiffs strenuously objected to proceeding with the 2012 Elections using the existing “old maps” or the “new maps”, subject of the litigation, without preclearance. That’s why the Court asked for briefs and set a hearing for this week.

The plaintiffs also argued for an interim map. The County objected. For now, the Court did not decide that issue and expressed concern over doing anything pending the outcome of the state redistricting lawsuit. Only issue they will take up at this week’s hearing is “old map” issue.

My thanks for the clarification. It’s the first I’ve heard of a possible interim map. That will be something to see.

Related Posts:

Comments are closed.