Libertarian Party of Texas files lawsuit against Texas Secretary of State
Published 1:43 pm Thursday, December 9, 2021
The Libertarian Party of Texas is challenging the constitutionality of provisions in Texas Election Code that infringe on their right to free speech, free association, and equal protection
Austin, Texas – On December 1st, 2021, The Libertarian Party of Texas (LPTexas), along with several individual plaintiffs, represented by Gordon, Arata, Montgomery, Barnett, McCollam, Duplantis & Eagan, LLC ﬁled suit against the Texas Secretary of State, John B. Scott and Texas Deputy Secretary of State Jose A. Esparaza. The complaint asserts that Section 181.0311 of the Texas Election Code requiring Third Party candidates to pay a fee, or submit a petition in lieu thereof, in order to be considered for nomination is unconstitutional and infringes on the rights to free speech, free association, and equal protection.
In Texas, ﬁling fees paid by Republican and Democrat candidates are used to offset the cost of Primary elections, which are largely paid from the General Fund, utilizing taxpayer dollars. In contrast, ballot-qualiﬁed Libertarian Party candidates do not participate in primaries, and instead participate in Party-funded nominating conventions. Additionally, fees paid by Primary Party candidates go to their Parties, while non-primary candidates are required to submit payment to the Secretary of State, thus to the general fund. LPTexas Chair, Whitney Bilyeu, notes,
“The passage of H.B. 2504 in 2019 began the Texas Legislature’s attack on free and fair elections and we are taking the necessary steps to protect voters’ rights. By passing S.B. 2093 this year and continuing their war against competition at the polls, while simultaneously claiming to want real election reform, Republicans and Democrats once again prove they are more than willing to work together so long as it ensures voters only have the two of them to choose between. Electing our representatives is a fundamental practice of liberty and to deny Texas voters a choice at the ballot box is antithetical to representative democracy. ”
The State’s claimed legitimate interest in only having candidates who’ve demonstrated a modicum of support appear on the ballot is already met for those applying through a ballot-qualiﬁed Convention Party. Additionally, LPTexas may only place one candidate on the ballot for each race, thus eliminating any danger of ballot overcrowding. Plaintiffs are seeking injunctive relief and an overturning of this unconstitutional legislation. The Libertarian Party of Texas is the state afﬁliate for the third largest and fastest growing political party in the United States. LPTexas seeks to elect Libertarians and inﬂuence legislation that focuses on individual rights, self ownership, and limited government. To learn more about the Libertarian Party of Texas, visit www.lptexas.org.