AUSTIN (KXAN) - With so much uncertainty and delays in a final decision regarding legislative and congressional redistricting maps, Texas' 254 counties face major challenges when it comes to upcoming elections.
Though they were not directly affected by the state's troubles, the city of Austin elections will go on as scheduled May 12, because of $500,000 the council set aside last fall for more equipment to handle back-to-back elections. Four City Council members, including the mayor, are up for re-election.
That idea of a quick turnaround began last year, when the Legislature adjusted the election calendar for the state's primaries. With the primary date set for Super Tuesday March 6, the legislative update meant a primary runoff would be pushed into late April – only 10 days before the city's election.
Now, thanks to disagreements and court hold-ups over the state Senate, state House, and Congressional district maps, that primary date no longer stands. As of late, the likely date is May 29.
Travis County must organize around 200 polling locations, but officials cannot do so until they know the outcome of those state maps. At that point, it could take up to three weeks for Travis County voters – who will have adjusted voting districts – to receive new registration certificates.
Any changes could affect the location where they vote, not to mention finding volunteers to man the polls.
Meanwhile, county staff is still working to pre-test voting machines in anticipation of the eventual statewide election. Once the maps are finally available, the County Clerk's office must test ballots, then mail them to overseas voters – like soldiers – at least 45 days before Election Day.
Light snow flurries were reported early Saturday just north of the KXAN viewing area. Sub-freezing temperatures along with a slight chance of light snow, sleet and freezing rain will continue through Sunday morning.
Investigators are still trying to figure out who murdered an Austin teacher in Benghazi on Thursday.
Back in June, Governor Rick Perry signed a new law officially letting teachers and students use greetings such as "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Hannukah" in school, all without getting in any trouble.
The Round Rock-based computer giant, Dell Inc., is offering some workers voluntary buyouts as it seeks to trim costs and boost productivity.
The Austin Humane Society reopened to the public Friday after closing its doors for six weeks.
Sub-freezing temperatures and an approaching upper level disturbance could combine to produce some patchy freezing drizzle or sleet Saturday and early Sunday morning.