The 2022 election season could be a whole lot longer than originally planned.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is telling lawmakers to expect the primary election—currently scheduled for March 1, 2022—to take place during the last week of May, at the earliest. In a meeting with lawmakers, Patrick even suggested the date could be pushed back as late as July.
According to multiple sources in the Texas Capitol, Patrick made the comments during a recent address to the House Republican Caucus, in which he touted his recently announced 31 legislative priorities.
The reason for the projected pushback on election dates stems from delays in the U.S. Census data used for redistricting. Originally scheduled to be delivered to states at the beginning of 2021, U.S. President Joe Biden has delayed the delivery of the data, saying coronavirus restrictions slowed down the collection of information last year.
Last month, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that state legislatures would not receive the data needed to draw legislative maps until September 30, well after the Texas Legislature’s scheduled adjournment on May 31.
Thus, sources say, Patrick pointed to a likely October special session for the Legislature to pass new maps.
The domino effect doesn’t stop there, however.
Any maps passed by the Legislature will almost certainly have legal challenges brought against them. Factor in the logistical planning involved in holding state and federal elections, with early voting scheduled to begin on February 14, and it’s not difficult to see why the elections could easily be pushed into the summer.
Sherry Sylvester, a senior advisor to Patrick, confirmed Patrick’s projection to Texas Scorecard, saying, “It is no secret that census data is now projected to come out in September. If that projection holds, the Legislature would likely meet to draw maps shortly after, and primary elections would be held in late spring or summer.”
For more information on redistricting, read Texas Scorecard’s recently published explainer on the topic.