Texas’ unique primary issue
Taral Patel, News Editor
April 5, 2012
Filed under News
Texans will cast their votes during early voting from May 14-25 or on the primary election day on May 29 to decide on the Democratic or Republican nominees for President, United States Congress, Texas Congress, and other statewide and local elected positions. Typically, Texas’ primary date is April 3 but has been changed to May 29 due to litigation regarding redistricting.
May 29, the day after Memorial Day, makes it significantly harder to hold a high turnout primary election which forces challengers to work even harder to bring voters to the poll.
“After a break from the weekend and Memorial Day, one of the last things on my mind is voting or politics,” senior Varun Bora said. “I wish the redistricting process wasn’t so convoluted and it’s pretty ridiculous that the supermajority refused to cooperate with the Federal government at all to come up with a better map and earlier date.”
Due to illegal redistricting efforts, a Federal Court in San Antonio deemed the maps illegal and the conflict escalated to a costly and exhaustive battle between the Democratic and Republican parties to argue in the Supreme Court. The maps of this primary and general election are only interim court-issued maps because several legal battles have yet to be fought out.
The extent of Texas’ partisan redistricting problem has caused even more issues to come under pressure.
“Now the Attorney General of Texas is arguing against a provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1964,” senior Neel Bhan said. “It doesn’t make sense and is going to hurt the election turnout this election season. Texas used to have a very prominent role in determining the Presidential nominees because the state’s primary was earlier, but because of the highly partisan bickering, the importance of Texas as a whole in determining national politics has come under attack.”
Candidates for public office will have to work significantly harder to bring out new voters for the primary election. Strategies to encourage young and new voters will have to be more creative due to the unique date of the election.
“It’s already hard enough to bring out voters but the hardest is bringing out brand new, young voters and those that just learned about the importance of how elected officials help us run our country,” junior Luis Espinoza said. “I volunteer on a campaign and an important priority of ours is finding creative methods to remind every voter to come out especially during early voting. This issue is really going to hurt the overall turnout this year.”