McCain A Write-In Candidate in Texas?
Even though both the McCain and Obama campaigns failed to meet the legal requirements of the Texas election code, the Secretary of State of Texas ignored the clear language of the law and certified both as having a place on the ballot.
The ballot status of the Mcain/Palin and Obama/Biden tickets is now part of a lawsuit in Texas. The Texas Courts will NOT render justice in this case. Instead the court will allow the defective certification of the McCain/Palin and Obama/Biden tickets to remain on the ballot.
What happened is simple. Neither the Republican Party of Texas nor the democratic party of Texas filed nomination papers by the end of day, Tuesday, August 26, 2008. Texas election statute 192.031(2)(A) requires that:
- before 5 p.m. of the 70th day before presidential election day, the party's state chair signs and delivers to the secretary of state a written certification of the names of the party's nominees for president and vice-president
Here is the documentation submitted to the Texas Secretary of State by the two, politically connected parties. As you can see the names and addresses of the presidential electors were submitted on time, but the four names (presidential and vice presidential names from the Republican and Democratic parties) were not submitted on time. The closest of the four names to meeting this hard statutory deadline was when the Republican party submitted on August 25, 2008, the name of the un-nominated John McCain and an unsub. The first problem is McCain was not the party nominee by then and the second problem is Sarah Palin was not even proposed as the VP nominee until August 29, 2008.
Here is the letter objecting to this failure to obey the law from the politically unconnected Libertarian Party. The LP, BTW, followed the rules and held its convention in May specifically in order to meet filing and ballot access deadlines such as this one in Texas and other, more draconian ballot access laws in other states. The politically unconnected Green Party had its national convention in June in order to meet such filing and ballot access deadlines. The politically unconnected Constitution Party had its national convention in April in order to meet such filing and ballot access deadlines.
What have the Texas Supreme court said on missing important, statutory filing deadlines? It has said that that if the defects are minor (e.g. missing place numbers) the candidate can cure, but if the deadline is important it must be enforced even if this bounces the candidate from the ballot. The tendency is to allow cures provided the legislative scheme for elections and the election schedule is not contravened.
The 2006 case cited by the Barr campaign is In Re Francis which reads [emphasis mine]:
- Finally, we emphasize several limitations on today’s holding. First, it concerns only facial defects that are apparent from the four corners of a candidate’s filings; it does not reach forgery, fraud, or other non-accidental defects discoverable only by independent investigation. Second, it concerns only early filings that allow time for corrections after the state chair’s review; no additional time will be available for candidates who file at the last minute so that review cannot be completed before the filing deadline. Third, it does not allow political parties or candidates to ignore statutory deadlines; it allows candidates only the time that the Election Code was designed to give them. Fourth, it concerns only defective filings that have erroneously been approved; it does not change what the Election Code says party chairs should and must reject. Finally, it does not absolve candidates of the need for diligence and responsibility in their filings; party chairs must only notify them of defects, not do their work for them.
- Election contests often raise competing interests: courts must favor candidate eligibility and access to the ballot, strictly enforce the Legislature’s intent as expressed in the plain words of a statute, and attempt to honor both principles to reach a just and reasonable result as required by the Code Construction Act. Mandatory requirements in the Election Code can work harsh consequences that may result in applicants not being placed on the ballot; yet the plain language of the Election Code, frequently couched in terms of "must" and "shall," instructs that candidates include all of the listed elements in their applications and petitions.
Can't have that!!
For the 2 wings of the ruling duopoly, discussing divergent points of view on the substantive issues of the day is more dangerous than destroying the Rule of Law in Texas.