After a day of informal but intense negotiations, the Texas Republican and Democratic parties have reached a tentative agreement to move the state’s party primary elections from March 6 to April 3.

This is happening because the US Supreme Court has agreed to rule on the state's appeal of a federal court ruling that threw out the redistricting plan drawn up by the legislature earlier this year.

The US Justice Department claimed, and the federal court agreed, that the new voting district maps reduced minority voting strength in many legislative and congressional districts.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott disagreed, and appealed to the US Supreme Court.  His appeal is now in the high court's "in box" awaiting a hearing, and no one knows when it will be held .

Because of this uncertainty, leaders of both Texas political parties have tentatively agreed to move the March primaries to the first week of April.

Under the tentative bipartisan agreement, county election officials would mail out voter registration cards in February.  The primaries would be held April 3rd, and runoffs would be held on June 5 as needed.

The primaries could still be delayed even further if the Supreme Court's ruling doesn't come in time for the state to use that schedule.

Stay tuned.

via Breaking: Tentative deal reached on primary date | Texas Politics | a Chron.com blog.

All of this is happening because Texas is still one of a handful of southern states that are covered by the federal Voting Rights Act of 1964, which requires Justice Department approval of any and all changes in voting lines of all kinds, even water districts.