Updated: Dec 17, 2021
For Immediate Release
December 8, 2021
Contact: Linda Curtis, 512.213.4511
Bastrop, Texas, December 8, 8:00 am: The filing deadline for candidates to declare their intention to run in the 2022 election for federal, state, and county office is Monday, December 13. If any candidate seeking to run on any party line or independent misses the December 13 deadline, they will be ruled ineligible.
But the Texas Secretary of State's Office has long suppressed the filings for minor party and independent (no party) candidates until well after the filing deadline, requiring a public information request.
The following letter was sent to the Secretary of State from the nonpartisan, nonprofit League of Independent Voters of Texas (LIV) yesterday, December 7. The letter lays out why this practice is discriminatory.
Mark Miller, an Advisory Board Member of LIV, said:
"On the filing deadline, Monday, December 13, Texans will know who is seeking the nomination of the Democratic or Republican parties, but they will have to wait to hear about their independent and minor party candidate options. This is just one of many ways the major parties continue to rig the game."
Appended below is the letter sent on December 7, Pearl Harbor Day. We hope Texas media can help end this discriminatory practice in memory of those who lost their lives for our democratic republic.
League of independent Voters of Texas
PO Box 651• Bastrop, TX 78602 • 512.213.4511 • www.LIVTX.org
DELIVERED VIA EMAIL
December 7, 2021
Secretary of State of Texas, John Scott, Secretary of State of Texas
Adam Bitter, General Counsel, Public Information Officer
Re: Discriminatory application of candidate filing public disclosure
Dear Secretary Scott and Mr. Bitter:
We write to you today on behalf of the League of Independent Voters of Texas, a nonprofit, nonpartisan 501c4 organization whose mission is to win competitive elections in Texas.
We have spoken with SOS Staff Attorney, Mr. Chuck Pinney. If Mr. Pinney feels anything is being misconstrued in this letter, we stand to be corrected.
I am requesting timely filings of notices by all candidates to run in the 2022 election. As you know, the deadline to file such notice is December 13th. The portal for this information readily available to the public is at https://candidate.texas-election.com/Elections/getQualifiedCandidatesInfo.do. Our problem is that only filings by major party candidates are reported on this portal. Though the portal appears on a dropdown tab to report candidates for all parties, including Libertarians, Greens as well as unaffiliated independents (no party), no such information for anyone other than major party candidates is made available through the portal.
I requested information in whatever form, whether through the portal or via email. Mr. Pinney suggested I file a public information request. I am doing this now, via this letter as it is our understanding that Mr. Bitter is also the Public Information Officer for SOS.
That said, we do not feel a public information request is appropriate. Waiting the 10 days you have to fulfill this request is inappropriate and discriminatory.
I was told by Mr. Pinney that the failure to report all candidate filings is intentional because the candidates not running in the primary are not "really running” until they file their signatures with your office due in May. This is clearly not the case for minor party candidates, who must pay a filing fee to be considered by their respective parties at conventions long before May.
You may know that discriminatory ballot access requirements are the subject of a federal lawsuit pending in federal court (Miller v. Doe 1:19-cv-00700) filed by the Center for Competitive Democracy. In light of this litigation, we would like to know if your position that minor party and independent candidates “aren’t really running” means you support the lawsuit’s intention to eliminate the unduly early filing deadline for minor parties and independent candidates.
You cannot have it both ways. Either you timely report all the candidates or you eliminate the requirement that independents and minor parties file along with the majors in December.
We appreciate Mr. Pinney calling us within 24 hours of our contact with your office. We hope to quickly hear from his superiors or the Secretary of State quickly.
Thank you for your cooperation.
Linda Curtis, Board Member League of independent Voters of Texas
Cc: Chuck Pinney, Staff Attorney SOS
Christina Atkinds, General Law SOS
Whitney Bilyeu, Chair, Libertarian Party of Texas
Laura Palmer, Co-Chair, Green Party of Texas
Hurter Wayne Crow, Interim Co-Chair, Green Party of Texas