Primary dates go ‘back to the future’ with voting on May 29

Okay, now you can look at all those political signs in hundreds of Milam County yards and pay attention, if you haven’t been doing that already.

That San Antonio district court has finally resolved the issue of when Texas’s primary elections will be held and has also issued redistricting maps for the congressional, state senate and state representative districts which were holding up the balloting.

The magic date is May 29, almost three months after the originally scheduled date, which would have been Tuesday (March 6).

But Milam County voters could be heading to the polls much later than that date. The court also set the runoff election date for July 31.

There’s a possibility for a countywide runoff as three candidates are on the Republican ballot for sheriff.

Obviously, this time around the redistricting squabble was the reason for delaying the primary elections. But in previous decades there were other kinds of pressures moving election dates around.

Many Rockdale residents remember when primaries were held the first week in May as a matter of course. This practice didn’t stop until the mid 1980s.

In earlier years primaries were held even further along in the summer, in June or even later.

What changed? Presidential politics, that’s what. With nominations being decided earlier each cycle, those states with later primaries felt they were being “left out” of a say in deciding who their nominees would be and political parties kept shoving primary dates earlier in many states, including Texas.

Highly ironical, having delegate-rich Texas’ Republican Primary so late in 2012 will probably enhance our state’s clout in deciding what is currently viewed as a three-man race for the presidential nomination.—M.B.

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2012-03-08 digital edition

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