Texas Bill, Imposing Filing Fees on Candidates Not Nominated by Primary, has Hearing on March 7

The Texas House Elections Committee will hold a hearing on HB 418 on March 7, Monday. This is the bill that imposes filing fees on candidates who get on the ballot by petition, or by convention. Currently, only candidates running in a partisan primary pay filing fees. No party other than the Democratic or Republican Parties has ever had a primary that was paid for by Texas taxpayers, except for La Raza Unida in the 1970’s.

The purpose of the filing fees in primaries is to prevent the primary ballot from being too crowded. No one needs a petition to get on a partisan primary ballot, so the fees are the only protection against overly-crowded primary ballots. That rationale for the fees does not apply to the general election. Parties that nominate by convention (such as the Libertarian and Green Parties) pay for their own conventions, and there is no concern about crowded ballots at a convention. The general election ballot is never crowded in Texas because ballot access for independent candidates and new political parties is so difficult. When the Green Party qualified in Texas in 2010, the petition to get it on the ballot cost over $500,000.

Texas does occasionally have crowded ballots in special elections, because in special elections, no one needs a petition to get on the ballot. The sponsor of HB 418 is Leo Berman (R-Tyler).


Texas Bill, Imposing Filing Fees on Candidates Not Nominated by Primary, has Hearing on March 7 — 12 Comments

  1. Separate is NOT equal — in all States 24/7 — regardless of brainless ballot access so-called lawyers.

    Brown v. Bd of Ed 1954

  2. Filing for a special election is the same as for a primary, payment of either a fee or a petition (see Election Code 203.005.

  3. But independent candidates must submit a petition for a regularly-scheduled election, whereas there is no mandatory petition in a special election.

  4. #3 You wrote: “Texas does occasionally have crowded ballots in special elections, because in special elections, no one needs a petition to get on the ballot.”

    But qualification for a special election, is the same as qualification for a primary. A candidate may either pay the filing fee or collect signatures.

    You are in essence claiming that the qualification standards for a primary is a deterrent to ballot crowding; while at the same time claiming that the identical qualification standards for a special election are not only not a deterrent, but actually cause ballot crowding.

    Or do you interpret Election Code 203.005 in some other way?

    HB 418 does not require a filing fee for convention-nominated candidates, it requires a file fee or a petition. Since independent candidates already qualify by petition, the filing fee in that case is redundant.

  5. #4 is not true. Independents MUST submit a petition in a regularly-scheduled election. There is no mandatory petition in a special election.

  6. As I was reading this story I was just wondering what jackass in our Texas State Lege proposed this bill. And then I saw Leo Berman’s name and understood everything.

  7. #5 There are no mandatory petition for primaries either (except for certain judicial offices).

    You claimed that there was ballot crowding for special elections because no one has to file a petition. But if a candidate does not file a petition they have to pay the filing fee.

    You then go onto to claim that the filing fee serves as a deterrent to ballot crowding on the primary ballot.

    Either the filing fee is a deterrent to ballot crowding in special elections AND in primaries; or it is not a deterrent in either case. Choose ONE.

    You original article also contains an error with regard to convention-nominated candidates, which you have as yet failed to correct. Convention-nominated candidates would pay either a filing fee OR have a petition; the same qualification as required for a primary candidate.

  8. In Texas and most states, the US Supreme Court forced states to have a petition in lieu of filing fee, for candidates who don’t pay the filing fee. But in the real world, it is more expensive to collect the signatures in lieu of filing fee than it is to just pay the filing fee. I am talking “real world”. The petition in lieu of a filing fee is of little practical usefulness, and few candidates ever do such a petition.

    It is obvious when one looks at the number of independent candidates for the legislature in Florida, compared to the number of independent candidates for the legislature in Texas, that a system with no mandatory petition lets far, far more independent candidates on the ballot. In the November 2010 election, Florida had 21 independent candidates on the ballot for legislature, and Texas had only two. This is because there are no mandatory petitions in Florida but there are in Texas.

  9. Will the party hacks attempt to have balanced budgets and pay off the national – state – local debts via filing fees ???

    Where are those electronic petitions — nominating, const amdts, laws, recalls ??? — to get the U.S.A. out of the gerrymander DARK AGE with the party hack robots in the various State legislatures.

    Will CA save Western Civilization — via things like top 2 primaries ??? Stay tuned.

  10. Texas does not have an in lieu of filing fee per se, because the regular petition standards are so low (for state senator about 3% to 5% of the burden that your lawsuit seeks to re-impose in California).

    Texas used to require both a petition and filing fee, but the “AND” was replace with an “OR”. Texas does continue to require both a petition AND filing fee for at least some judicial offices.

    Most of the candidates in special elections in Texas run as either Republicans or Democrats, and would have paid the same filing fee to run in a primary.

    The reason for the difference in number of independent candidates can be attributed to a number of factors. Texas does not have party registration, so a candidate can choose to be a Republican or Democrat when they file. In 2010, there was a candidate who filed as a Republican in the morning, changed their mind and filed as a Democrat in the afternoon.

    Texas requires candidates to file much earlier than Florida, so independents have to plan well in advance to run. And in Florida, many “independents” may file in order to frustrate the law that converts a partisan primary into an open primary when there would be no other candidates on the general election ballot.

    Another factor that attracts additional candidates to a special election are (1) no incumbent; and office holders may run without giving up their current position, or forgoing a re-election opportunity.

    BTW, did you see the two Top 2 bills proposed in Texas?

  11. Any blood oaths or at least LIE detector tests for tha party hack robot candidates in Texas (and other lunatic States having the Texas system, if any) ???

    How many States have LUNATIC Donkey / Elephant / Other nomination systems — other than the EVIL GA party hacks ???

  12. #11 A person may only affiliate with one party during an election year. Any violation of the law would be based on the actions of the candidate and/or voter, and would not be based on their state of mind, so blood oaths or lie detector tests are not necessary.

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