Barr Wins Texas; Democrats, Republicans Miss Ballot Deadline

Usually the Democrats and Republicans have no trouble placing their candidates’ names on ballots. Since they are established political parties, the process in most states is as simple as filling out a form or sending a letter certifying the names of their candidates. Parties, such as the Libertarian Party, who do not meet the requirements to be considered a major party, must spend almost as much time and effort on ballot access as they do on campaigning. Depending on the state, independents and third parties are required to collect tens of thousands of signatures, pay hefty fees and meet stringent deadlines. Perhaps the major parties have grown complicit or overconfident or maybe the other parties have become adept in getting ballot access. Whatever the reason, the Democratic and Republican parties have missed the Texas deadline of August twenty fifth to certify their candidates for president and vice president. The Libertarian party, however has met all the Texas requirements. This means that Bob Barr, the Libertarian candidate will be the only candidate for president on the ballot in Texas.

The Bob Barr campaign stated in a press release that the major parties “Knowingly missed [Texas's] deadline to file.” The press release, available on the Bob Barr campaign web site at www.bobbarr2008.com reads in part:

According to documents obtained by the Barr campaign, neither John McCain nor Barack Obama complied with Texas Election Code § 192.031, which requires that filings must be submitted “before 5 p.m. of the 70th day before presidential Election Day,” listing the “names of the party’s nominees for president and vice-president.”

The Bob Barr campaign stated that there will be “serious legal consequences” if either Barack Obama or John McCain appear on the Texas ballot in November.

The press release on the Bob Barr campaign website points to a file that they claim is all the paperwork filed by the Democratic and Republican parties with the Texas Secretary of State’s office (http://www.bobbarr2008.com/files/dqcertification.pdf). Assuming these documents are real, cursory examination shows that the Democrats filed after the deadline. Their paperwork is notarized on August 27th. The Republicans paperwork is dated August 26th, but a hand written note on the paperwork claims it was received on the 25th. The Republican paperwork also states that “The Republican National Convention is scheduled to nominate Senator John McCain and his running mate as the nominees for President and Vice President on the 2008 General Ballot,” and states that “These nominees possess the qualifications for those offices,” even though neither had been officially nominated at that point, and no one even knew who John McCain’s running mate was. Even with these major questions, a court could uphold the Republicans’ filing. The Democrats, however, have obviously not met ballot requirements if these documents are authentic.

At the time of this writing, the Texas Secretary of State’s office has not responded to requests for comments on this issue. They have also not responded to requests to confirm the authenticity of the documents found on the Bob Barr campaign web site. It has been reported in blogs, however that representatives of the Texas SoS office stated on the phone that both of the major parties had met all the requirements to have their candidates’ names on the ballot.

If the Bob Barr campaign is correct, then the ballot access issue could quickly become a major legal battle. Texans may have no other choice come November, than to vote for Bob Barr or no one at all. It is also possible that Barr’s campaign will take advantage of this issue to get ballot access in other states. The major parties may offer to drop ballot access related law suites in other states in exchange for Barr not pushing the issue in Texas. Alternatively, the Barr campaign could opt to take the issue to court in Texas in an attempt to either get the major parties excluded from the presidential election in Texas or to set precedents that will benefit the Libertarian Party by making ballot access in other states easier. Regardless of the outcome, this failure on the part of the major parties is sure to benefit the Barr campaign and Libertarian party.


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