January 02, 2008
Are Yanez's petition signature problems unfixable?
Vince reported earlier that some questions had been raised about the number of valid signatures Judge Linda Yanez had submitted for her ballot access petition as required by state law for a nomination to the Supreme Court. Now he's reporting that those problems may not be solvable before the filing deadline. I have here some correspondence between the campaign of Judge Susan Criss and the Texas Democratic Party which goes into the details:
Letter from TDP to Criss (PDF)
Response from Criss campaign (Word doc), which has all the ins and outs of the matter.
I'm not qualified to assess the validity of the points that the Criss campaign has raised, but it all sounds pretty serious. We'll see what the TDP does.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 02, 2008 to Election 2008
Two years ago, Terry Keel tried to bump his opponents off of the ballot this way. The Supreem Court said "no dice." and got both men back on the ballot.
Voters don't like this kind of thing and Keel ended up losing a race he should have won.
Foolish, Foolish, Foolish on Criss' part. They must really be worried about beating an Hispanic in the primary to pull this stunt.
So, the TDP has to let a candidate on the ballot even if they didn't meet the signature requirement? Can the GOP then challenge that candidate's eligibility if they should happen to win the primary? How stupid is that? It takes a lot of time and money to collect and verify signatures. Why even have such a requirement if the candidate doesn't have to meet it?
Of course the TDP doesn't let a candidate on the ballot even if they don't meet the signature requirement.
If Sue Criss was cut out to be an appeals judge (or at least curious about what the law actually says), she'd have figured out that the Texas Supreme Court recently decided this exact issue.
Sue Criss was trying to argue that if a candidate files her petition on the first day (like Justice Yanez did) and her opponent waits until the last minute to file a challenge (as Sue did), then the petition couldn't be fixed.
This exact same issue rose in 2006, and the case went up to the Texas Supreme Court.
The court ruled that the Election Code provides "a safety net for candidates who file their applications early in the filing period, assuring that individuals willing to commit to public service will receive the assistance of party officials in complying with the myriad and technical requirements for becoming a party candidate" and was drafted so "candidates would be encouraged to file early so that they can benefit from the state chair's review, and ensure that they will not be excluded for technicalities."
Addressing the EXACT sort of conduct that Sue was trying to get away with, the court further said the Election Code must be interpreted "as a tool rather than a trap" so that political "opponents would no longer be able to win elections by default by pointing out defects only after it is too late to correct them."
Sue was wrong, and anyone who pretends to be qualified to sit on the Supreme Court would have known she was wrong.
Apparently Sue wants to WRITE opinions but she doesn't much like READING them.
This is just another reason why Justice Phil Johnson is a better judge than Sue.