Elections 2020IssuesTexas Supreme Court Orders Green Party Candidates Be Placed Back on Ballot

After a lower court ordered the removal of Green Party candidates from the ballot, the Texas Supreme Court reversed the decision.
September 15, 2020
Due to a Texas Supreme Court (SCOTX) ruling, three Green Party candidates can reassume their places on the ballot after being previously removed due to a lower court’s ruling.

In a Tuesday afternoon order, the SCOTX vacated the Third District Court of Appeals’ ruling from August which granted the plaintiff’s request to remove Green Party candidates from the ballot.

Ten days ago, SCOTX ruled against a Republican effort to knock a bevy of Libertarian candidates from the ballot which was positioned differently than the original Democratic suit against the Green Party.

Texas Democrats, in their originally successful effort, argued that since the Green Party candidates had not filed the required fee or signature petitions, they were ineligible based on a new law passed in 2019.

Non-major parties had previously nominated their candidates at conventions and thus were not bound by those filing requirements. But the 2019 law changed that, placing them on the same level as major-party candidates.

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Texas Republicans, meanwhile, after initially trying the same approach and facing rejection due to time constraints, changed course arguing that the candidate’s applications were invalidly approved by the Libertarian Party chair.

The court’s order reads, “The court of appeals’ order requiring a declaration that David B. Collins (U.S. Senate), Katija ‘Kat’ Gruene (Railroad Commission), and Tommy Wakely (Congressional District 21) are ineligible to appear as Green Party nominees on the November 2020 general statewide ballot is vacated. The Secretary of State shall immediately take all necessary actions to ensure these candidates appear on the 2020 general election ballot as they would have appeared before the court of appeals’ conditional grant of relief.”

The Texan can confirm that the Secretary of State has directed county elections administrators to ensure all ballots include those three Green Party candidates.

The SCOTX’s opinion has not yet been released to accompany the order.

Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa reacted, saying, “The Legislature, with bipartisan majorities, passed a law that minor party candidates have to pay the same filing fees or obtain the same number of petitions as major party candidates to appear on the General Election ballot. The Green Party didn’t want to follow the law, and now the state Attorney General and Republican Texas Supreme Court have helped them flaunt it. Meanwhile, mailed ballots have to be recalled or replaced while military and overseas voters will be put at further risk of not having their ballots delivered on time. All of this because the Republican Party believes this will give them a better chance to hold on to power.”

Green Party candidate for the 21st Congressional District race, Tom Wakely, told The Texan he had already closed out his campaign bank and Federal Elections Commission accounts, and totally relaunch his campaign.

“I got used to being off the ballot and my wife had all these ‘honeydo’s’ for me, and now I’ve got to tell her ‘I love ya, but I’m back on the ballot and will be out for 49 more days,” he added.

Wakely then emphasized he hopes to focus the campaign on issues such as the California wildfires flaring up at the moment.

With only 49 days until Election Day, mail-in-ballots will be sent out this week starting on September 19.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated its original version to include comments from Green Party candidate, Tom Wakely.


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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.