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New filing dates announced

The federal court in San Antonio has taken the first steps towards defining what the 2012 election will look like in Texas.

A panel of three federal judges in San Antonio on Friday changed key rules for some candidates for public office, including delaying and shortening the filing period for the 2012 congressional and legislative elections.

The panel’s moves were expected. The court is working on drawing new district boundaries for the upcoming elections but has not yet finished, and candidate filing was to have begun next week.

The judges also changed residency requirements for candidates; under current law, candidates for state House and Senate seats must have lived in their districts for a year prior to their election. The judges ordered that candidates in the 2012 election must live in their district from Dec. 15 until the general election, according to court documents. (Members of Congress are not required to live in their districts, but practically speaking, it can be important.)

Originally, the filing period was to run from Nov. 12 to Dec. 12. Now, candidates in the 2012 elections will need to file between Nov. 28 and Dec. 15, the court said.

Michael Li has the updated calendar and a copy of the court’s order. Next stop, interim maps. Also in the pipeline is the state’s motion for summary judgment in the matter of the lawsuits filed over the State Senate map, for which the DOJ raised no objections but for which preclearance still hasn’t been granted. If the state gets its request, that will be one less interim map to draw.

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