County Election Chiefs Await Supreme Court’s Redistricting Ruling

MCKINNEY (CBSDFW.COM) – With many questions still floating above the tentative date of the Texas primary, some election administrators feel they’re part of a circus juggling act.

“There are many rings,” said Collin County’s Election Chief Sharon Rowe. “Everything is up in the air.”

Rowe said they’re in a holding pattern until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the state’s redistricting maps. There’s no telling how long that will take.

But the clock is ticking, and Rowe said they need time to prepare.

“For it to move forward that quickly, the decisions need to be made now,” she said.

Normally, the Collin County Elections Office would be overflowing with voter registration cards. Tables would be filled with trays and boxes. But because everything’s up in the air, there’s nothing to do, Rowe said.

The state primary has already been bumped from March to April 3. The Supreme Court justices asked Monday if it could be moved to late June.

The state’s Republican Party chairman said one possible solution is to have a primary for the presidential race first and a separate primary later for congressional and state legislative seats.

But that’s expensive.

“For any county in this state particularly in this day and age is a significant cost,” said Collin County Judge Keith Self.

Holding a second primary would cost taxpayers in Collin County $300,000 more. Taxpayers in the larger Dallas and Tarrant Counties would pay $800,000 more.

Voters like Mike Hale of Princeton don’t like that idea.

“I’d like to see things get easier, not harder,” he said. “We need ways to reduce our spending.”

Even if there isn’t a second primary, taxpayers will likely pay more for a compressed primary schedule. It’s the cost of doing business quickly following the high court’s ruling.

For now, state Republican and Democratic parties are not requesting a second state primary. They are awaiting the Supreme Court’s ruling.

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