By Michael V. Hannigan
The News Staff
Henderson County Elections Administrator Denise Hernandez might finally have a date for primary elections.
Just don’t expect pulling it together to be easy.
After months of wrangling, a federal court in San Antonio released interim redistricting maps Tuesday, a move which increase the chances the state will see primary elections on May 29. Obstacles remain and the maps could still be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, but officials are optimistic.
“While we believe the original maps drawn by the Texas Legislature were fair and legal, I am pleased we finally have maps that enable us to proceed with our elections,” said Gov. Rick Perry after the maps were announced.
With a May 29 primary, Hernandez said her office will be conducting elections almost continually from April 30 to early July, a period that includes two holidays and the Old Fiddlers Reunion.
First up is area municipal and school elections. Early voting there begins April 30 and ends May 8, with the election on May 12.
Early voting for the primary will begin May 14 and run through May 25, with election day on May 29.
But that’s not all. There is a very good chance the primary will produce at least one runoff election (Pct. 1 commissioner, maybe?) and that would fall sometime
around July 4 in July. Hernandez wasn’t sure of the exact runoff date Tuesday evening because the state has not yet released an election timeline; just another thing that has to be done.
According to the Associated Press, the filing period for candidates reopens on Friday and closes on March 9. County election officials will mail out voter registration cards on April 25 and any run-off elections will be held on July 31.
Locally, Hernandez is still dealing with county redistricting issues. First, the county reduced the number of voting boxes from 31 to 27, but the combining of the Fincastle and Poynor box has been contested.
Hernandez said the county will have to go forward with the assumption that there will be 27 boxes.
“At this point we can’t wait,” she said.
Then there is the matter of the county now being split between two State House districts. With interim maps, Hernandez can finally go about the process of putting voters around Cedar Creek Lake in either House District 10 or House District 4.
All that has to be done before voter registration cards can be issued.
And another filing period for candidates will have to be held, but that will be a part of the timeline that still hadn’t been released as of press time.
Not that Hernandez can wait anymore.
“We have to go about business,” she said.