Lawsuit: Texas forces out third parties to benefit GOP and Democrats

Texas Politics

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — A coalition of smaller political parties filed suit against the Texas Secretary of State over a new election law they claim will keep them off the ballot next election.

The Libertarian Party of Texas, the Green Party of Texas, the Consitution Party of Texas, America’s Party of Texas, and several of their members and candidates filed the suit in the U.S. Court for the Western District of Texas against Deputy Secretary of State Jose Esparza and the Secretary of State, who is still to be named.

The parties claim Texas law — put in place by members of the Republican and Democratic parties — gives them 75 days to collect 80,000 signatures to get on the ballot, at an estimated cost of $600,000 per party. The burden, they claim, violates the First and Fourteenth Amendment rights of people who vote or want to vote for third parties and they want a court to throw out the ballot requirements.

A third party can get on the statewide Texas ballot if a candidate receives 5% or more of the vote during the last statewide election or by collecting the signatures.

To get ballot access the signatures must come from registered voters who do not participate in the Republican or Democratic Primary or participate in another political convention.

KXAN reached out for a comment to the Texas Secretary of State’s Office, the Republican Party of Texas, and the Texas Democratic Party, and has not yet heard back.

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