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Time Running Out For State Electoral Maps Agreement

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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Time is running out for a minority group and the State Attorney General’s office to agree on how to draw new political maps.

The two sides are trying to avoid holding two different state primary elections, which is exactly what could happen if a federal court fails to draw new maps by next week.

It’s also being proposed that precincts be consolidated, but State House Democrat Trey Martinez Fisher, who also represents the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, said that would only discourage voters.

“That’s only gonna frustrate voters that are used to voting at their public elementary school and then come to find out it’s been consolidated because of a budget issue,” he said.

At stake are the new congressional seats created in Texas after the latest census. The data showed a population increase of nearly four million people, most of them minorities.

“Texas grew by 3.2 million minorities over the last decade. Any resolution with the Attorney General’s Office has to acknowledge that in both the four additional congressional seats and the state house seat,” Fisher said.

If a map isn’t completed and approved by next week, the April primary could be broken into two separate elections –- one primary for the four districts in question and another for everybody else.

Click here to read to order issued by the federal court in San Antonio.

Fisher said holding primaries on two different dates is a bad idea for voters and municipalities.

“Because the State of Texas has not acknowledged or accepted the responsibility to pay for a second primary, you have counties who will have to pay for them and these counties have financial problems of their own.”

The Mexican American Legislative Caucus challenged the initial state GOP maps that they said did not account for the population increase and therefore violated the Voting Rights Act.