Friday, September 18, 2020

Texas Supreme Court Explains Why it Ordered Green Party Candidates Restored to Ballot

Ballot Access News

On September 18, the Texas Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion in In re The Green Party of Texas, 20-0708. The 7-page opinion explains why it ordered three Green Party candidates back on the ballot, even though they had not paid a filing fee. The State Court of Appeals had removed them.

The Texas Supreme Court opinion points out that there is no deadline in the law for minor party candidates nominated at a state convention to pay the filing fee. This appears to be a flaw in the law, which was passed in great haste in 2019. So when the State Court of Appeals removed the Greens, there was no legal basis to do so, because theoretically they might still have paid the fee. The Texas Supreme Court says the Secretary of State’s regulation, saying the fee should have been paid when the candidates first indicated an interest in being nominated, is not supported by the law. That deadline is in December of the year before the election.

The Texas Supreme Court also says that if some jurisdictions have already printed ballots with the names of the Green Party nominees, then those ballots must be reprinted. The Opinion says, “We recognize that changes to the ballot at this late point in the process will require extra time and resources to be expended by our local election officials. But a candidate’s access to the ballot is an important value to our democracy. And an added expense is not a sufficient justification to deny these candidates that access.” Thanks to Art DiBianca for the link.

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