RPT Files Advisory with U.S. Supreme Court
This morning, the Republican Party of Texas filed an advisory with the United States Supreme Court informing them of the adverse consequences of moving a unified 2012 Texas Primary Election beyond early to mid April.
Please see the following link to view the advisory in PDF format.
In stating the reason behind the advisory, RPT State Chairman Steve Munisteri said, “The RPT became concerned that the Supreme Court was under the mistaken impression that it was workable to hold a unified primary as late as June 26th. This concern arose from questioning of counsel by Justices Alito and Sotomayor at Monday’s Supreme Court hearing on Texas redistricting. A review of the transcripts of the hearing confirmed that the Justices had indeed been told that a Texas Primary as late as June 26th was workable.”
Munisteri continued, “In fact, as noted in my previous Chairman’s Report (see link here) it is impossible to have a single unified primary on June 26th and to still comply with our Texas Election Code. The reason is that the Election Code requires the Parties to have a state convention in June or July and then further mandates a process of selecting delegates to those conventions over a several weeks period of time. This requirement, combined with the time it takes to organize a state convention, would make it impossible to hold a primary as late as June 26th, and still have a convention in a timely fashion. In addition, it is not practically possible to reschedule either party’s state convention, which are scheduled for June 7-9 for the RPT, and June 8-9 for the Texas Democratic Party. The reason for this is that you have to line up a convention facility sometimes years in advance, and the State Party has already contracted with the Fort Worth Convention Center and surrounding hotels.”
The Chairman continued, “In addition to the the Party’s convention problems, there are other practical problems why a June 26th primary is unworkable. An immediate concern is the reported jump in cost to the taxpayers as a large number of polling locations in Texas are school facilities. While these locations are normally free in the spring, they would not be available in the summer, and/or there would be a charge to utilize them. Another looming problem is manpower – many of the workers required to hold the elections, have no doubt already planned for summer vacations during that time, or will be forced to obtain child care or weigh other conflicting considerations. Furthermore, it is also expected that voting during the summer months would lower voter turnout, to say nothing of the fact that the Presidential Primary will be of little or no importance on June 26th, as opposed to April 3rd. For these reasons, the State Party felt compelled to take the extraordinary step of forwarding an advisory to the U.S. Supreme Court to raise these issues. I would like to make particular note of the help we received from Austin attorney Chris Ward of the firm Yetter Coleman LLP in drafting the advisory. Chris generously donated his work pro bono, and we are very grateful for his service.”