As we wrap up a very long day from today's redistricting hearing in front of the federal panel in San Antonio, we wanted to again keep you informed of the latest news and where we anticipate going from here.
The majority of the issues that were addressed today related to the immediate and pressing issue of candidate filing. Tomorrow, we expect an order from the panel that will ratify the agreement between the two political parties to extend candidate filing through Monday, December 19th for all races and positions on the ballot. We are instructing candidates to file their applications using the intended district number and designation for the office they are seeking.
There is, of course, the difficulty of how to best proceed without finalized maps. We have asked that the panel provide an opportunity for candidates who have already filed to be able to amend or withdraw their filing, should the need arise.
Under this solution, if a candidate files to run in a State Representative district whose number changes from the current map to a different number on a finalized map – the candidate would be able to either amend the designation on their application or be afforded the option of withdrawing their application if they choose not to run. Importantly, we are asking the panel to order that candidates who choose to withdraw their application will also be entitled to a refund of the filing fee, if they choose not to run based on the new district lines. This will apply to all candidates at every level.
If the court ratifies the proposal, this will also provide the opportunity for new candidates to file for a position once its district lines are finalized. In other words, filing will be re-opened once all court redistricting is finalized. In many cases, this will give an opportunity to a candidate who was running for a different position that is no longer an option to them. In other cases, it may open the race up to a newcomer in the contest who was not previously eligible.
We know this solution is imperfect, but like all of you, we are working to come up with the best possible, workable and fair solutions so the panel can get them approved, and we can quickly get focused back on the administration of these important elections. These proposals, if ratified by the panel, will allow for the quickest and most fulfilling method of handling the vast majority of candidate filings now, instead of creating a bigger problem days or weeks closer to the date of the election.
As to determining that date – we want to inform you that all parties will be in mediation on Thursday to discuss how to proceed with the timing of the election beyond the filing period. But again, a note of caution – with the exception of the court's announcement that they would sign an order on Wednesday which extends the deadlines, all other anticipated actions we have discussed are not a certainty until they are submitted to the court and signed. We do anticipate that occurring tomorrow afternoon. As always, we will keep you informed as soon as we have any news to pass along so that you can keep informed in your campaigns and in your community.
We cannot begin to express how grateful we are for your continued patience, and for the support you have shown in this process. If you have any questions that we have not answered or not considered, please let us know. We will be updating again soon with more news as we know it.