Elections 2022Statewide NewsTexas Supreme Court Denies GOP Petition to Remove 23 Libertarians from November Ballot over Filing Fees

The Libertarian Party of Texas said it would resist “this haphazard attempt by Republicans to limit voter choice and obstruct free and fair elections.”
August 26, 2022
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On August 26, the Supreme Court of Texas issued a case summary on the petition of mandamus by 23 Texas Republicans to have their Libertarian opponents declared ineligible for the general election in November.

The petition includes high-profile Republicans like Lieutenant Gov. Dan Patrick, U.S. Reps. Pat Fallon (R-TX-4) and Troy E. Nehls (R-TX-22), and candidate for Congressional District 15 Monica de la Cruz.

The petition for writ of mandamus was filed on August 8. The Republican candidates filed the petition, hoping to knock the 23 Libertarians off the ballot, because the Libertarians had not paid the filing fees required of political parties like theirs that nominate candidates in conventions rather than through primary elections.

The Libertarian Party of Texas (LPT) contends that the filing fees for convention-based parties, which were created in 2019’s House Bill 2504, were designed to exclude third parties and limit electoral competition. The party is fighting in federal court to have the filing fees overturned.

In its case summary, the court denied the petition, claiming “it did not comply with the requirement that invoking judicial authority in the election context requires unusual dispatch.”

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“Unusual dispatch” in this context means that petitioners must file with haste when elections are involved, due to the significance of the electoral process. The petition states that it was filed before August 26, the deadline for such a petition.

“Nearly four months passed between the facts giving rise to the relators’ claims and the filing of the mandamus action,” the summary reads. “The Court stated that relators had not provided a compelling explanation for why the claims could not have been investigated and brought to the courts with the ‘unusual dispatch’ required of those who seek to use the court system to alter the conduct of elections.”

“Mandamus aids the diligent and not those who slumber on their rights.”

The court stated that the Libertarians had declared their candidates in April and the Republicans waited until August, less than three weeks before the deadline, to file their petition. Because “access to the ballot lies at the heart of a constitutional republic,” the court explained, it would not declare the 23 Libertarians ineligible.

In a statement to The Texan, LPT chair Whitney Bilyeu wrote, “The Libertarian Party of Texas is thrilled with this outcome. As we did last time, we resisted this haphazard attempt by Republicans to limit voter choice and obstruct free and fair elections.”

“Libertarian candidates have a rightful place on the ballot,” Bilyeu contended. “We are a ballot-qualified political party seeking to offer options for the growing number of voters who reject the ever-increasing tyranny and authoritarianism of the Republican and Democratic Parties.”

“Without Libertarians on the ballot, there is no option for true freedom.”

Andy Taylor, the lawyer representing the 23 Republicans in this case, did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.

A copy of the court’s case summary can be found below.

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Rob Laucius

Rob Laucius is the Assistant Editor of The Texan. A Texas native, he graduated summa cum laude from Hillsdale College in 2022 with a degree in History and has interned for the U.S. House of Representatives and Veterans Administration. In his free time, Rob enjoys reading and writing, watching movies, and long walks around his neighborhood.