Ballot access requirements for political candidates in Texas

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See also
This page contains extensive information about ballot access requirements for state and federal candidates running for elected office in the state of Texas. Offices included are:

This page contains information on specific filing dates for each election year, how to become a candidate, how to create a political party, campaign finance requirements, state agency contacts involved in the election process, and term limits in Texas. Information on running for election as a presidential candidate or for county and municipal offices is not included. This page reflects research completed in April 2014.

Note: If you have any questions or comments about this page, email us.

Year-specific dates

2014

See also: Texas elections, 2014

Texas had a primary for federal, statewide, and state legislative offices on March 4, 2014. Texas also had a primary runoff on May 27, 2014, and a general election for state and federal offices on November 4, 2014. Voters elected candidates to serve in the following state and federal offices:

The 2014 filing deadline for partisan candidates participating in the primary was December 9, 2013. The deadline to qualify as a political party in time for the 2014 election was January 2, 2014.[1] For minor party candidates to be nominated by their party convention, the filing deadline was December 9, 2013.[1] The deadline for independent candidates to file for the 2014 general election ballot was June 26, 2014.[2]

Legend:      Ballot access     Campaign finance     Election date




Dates and Requirements for Candidates in 2014
Deadline Event type Event description
December 9, 2013 Ballot access Deadline for independent candidates to file a notice of intent to run

Deadline for candidates to file application for place on ballot with county or state party chair (application must include filing fee or a nominating petition)

January 2, 2014 Ballot access Deadline for a new political party to register itself with the Secretary of State's office
January 15, 2014 Campaign finance January semiannual campaign finance report due for all candidates and officeholders
January 21, 2014 Campaign finance Deadline for all candidates to file a Personal Financial Statement with the Texas Ethics Commission
February 3, 2014 Campaign finance First pre-primary campaign finance report due for all candidates with a primary opponent on the ballot
February 24, 2014 Campaign finance Second pre-primary campaign finance report due for all candidates with a primary opponent on the ballot
March 4, 2014 Election date Primary election date
March 11, 2014 Ballot access Deadline for a new political party to hold precinct conventions
March 15, 2014 Ballot access Deadline for a new political party to hold county conventions
March 22, 2014 Ballot access Deadline for a new political party to hold district conventions
April 12, 2014 Ballot access Deadline for a new political party to hold a state convention
May 19, 2014 Campaign finance Pre-runoff campaign finance report due for all candidates in the primary runoff
May 26, 2014 Ballot access Deadline for new political parties to file with the Secretary of State to have their nominees on the general election ballot.
May 27, 2014 Election date Primary runoff election
June 26, 2014 Ballot access Filing deadline for independent candidates to appear on the general election ballot
July 15, 2014 Campaign finance July semiannual campaign finance report due for all candidates and officeholders
August 18, 2014 Ballot access Filing deadline for write-in candidates to participate in the general election
October 6, 2014 Campaign finance 30-day pre-general election campaign finance report due for all candidates and officeholders
October 27, 2014 Campaign finance 8-day pre-general election campaign finance report due for all candidates with an opponent in the general election
November 4, 2014 Election date General election
January 15, 2015 Campaign finance Final campaign finance report due

36th Congressional District

In December 2013, Rep. Steve Stockman withdrew his candidacy for re-election in Texas’ 36th Congressional District in order to run for the U.S. Senate.[3] His withdrawal caused the Texas Republican Party to extend the filing deadline for the 36th District seat to December 16, 2013.[4] In the event of a candidate's withdrawal from a place on a general primary election ballot, the filing deadline is extended to the fifth day after the date of the regular filing deadline.[5] According to Texas state law, candidates that have previously filed for a different race are prohibited from running for the 36th Congressional District without first withdrawing from their races before the filing deadline, which was December 9, 2013.[3]

Political parties

See also: List of political parties in the United States

As of December 2013, the state of Texas officially recognized four political parties.[6] In order to be recognized by the state, a political party must fulfill certain requirements, which are outlined below in "Process to establish a political party."

Party Website link By-laws/platform link
Republican Party Official party website Party by-laws
Democratic Party Official party website Party by-laws
Libertarian Party Official party website Party platform
Green Party Official party website Party by-laws

In some states, a candidate may choose to have a label other than that of an officially recognized party appear alongside his or her name on the ballot. Such labels are called political party designations. A political party designation would be used when a candidate qualifies as an independent, but prefers to use a different label. Texas does not allow candidates to identify in this way. A total of 25 states allow candidates to use political party designations in non-presidential elections.[7][8]

The 11 states listed below (and Washington, D.C.) do not provide a process for political organizations to gain qualified status in advance of an election. Instead, in these states, an aspirant party must first field candidates using party designations. If the candidate or candidates win the requisite votes, the organization may then be recognized as an official political party. In these states, a political party can be formed only if the candidate in the general election obtains a specific number of votes. The number of votes required and type of race vary from state to state. Details can be found on the state-specific requirements pages.[9]

Process to establish a political party

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Section 181 of the Texas Election Code

Procedures for establishing a minor party

  • A person wishing to start a political party in Texas must form an organization and elect a chair and other necessary officers. The organization must have a name of three words or less.[10]
  • A political party was required to meet organizational requirements before its nominating conventions. A new political party was required to submit its party rules to the Secretary of State's office by or on January 2, 2014. These rules were required to prescribe the following:
    • (1) The parliamentary procedure governing the conduct of party meetings and conventions from the precinct level to the state level
    • (2) The method of selecting the party's presidential elector candidates
    • (3) The manner of selecting party officers, convention delegates, convention alternates, and convention officials
    • (4) The manner of adopting party rules and amendments to the rules.[10]
  • A political party making state nominations is required to establish a state executive committee.[10]
  • All party rules, temporary or permanent, must be posted on the state party's Internet website.[10]
  • A political party making state nominations is also required to establish a state executive committee.[10]

Convention requirements for minor parties

  • Minor parties nominating by convention were required to hold the following conventions:
    • Precinct conventions on March 11, 2014.
    • County conventions on March 15, 2014.
    • District conventions on March 22, 2014.
    • State conventions on April 12, 2014.
  • The chair of each convention will certify the nominees to the county election officer (county or precinct offices) or the Secretary of State (district or statewide offices) not later than 20 days after each corresponding convention.[10]
  • To be entitled to place their nominees on the general election ballot, third parties were required first to file a list of precinct convention participants with the Secretary of State not later than May 26, 2014.
  • The number of participants needed to be equal to at least one percent of the total number of votes received by all candidates for Governor in the most recent gubernatorial general election. For 2014, the required number of precinct participants was at least 49,729.[11]
  • The list must include the residence address and voter registration number of each participant.[10]
  • If the number of precinct convention participants is fewer than the number required for the political party to qualify to have the names of its nominees placed on the ballot, the party may qualify by filing a petition containing signatures in a number that, when added to the number of convention participants indicated on the lists, equals at least one percent of the total number of votes received by all candidates for Governor in the most recent gubernatorial general election and must be filed with the Secretary of State's Office by the state chair before the deadline for filing the lists of precinct convention participants.[12]
  • A political party is entitled to have the names of its nominees placed on the ballot in each subsequent general election following a general election in which the party had a nominee for a statewide office who received a number of votes equal to at least five percent of the total number of votes received by all candidates for that office.[13]

Process to become a candidate

Quick facts about Lieutenant Governors
  • 45 states have Lt. governors, 43 of them fill the office by election
  • 21 states elect Lt. governors on a single ticket with the governor at both the primary and general elections
  • 5 states elect Lt. governors separately from Governors at the primary and then put the top two vote-getters together on the general election ballot
  • 17 states, including Texas, elect Lt. governors separately from the Governor

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Title 9 of the Texas Election Code

A candidate in Texas may run as a candidate with an officially recognized political party, as an independent or as a write-in. The process to qualify varies depending on how a candidate runs.

Figure 1: This is the Application for a Place on the General Election Ballot Form.
  • For major party candidates (Republican and Democratic)
    • In order to become a candidate with a major political party, one must file an application with the county or state party chair and pay a filing fee. A candidate also has the option of filing a petition in lieu of the filing fee. Application and petition forms are available through the local party officials or the office of the Secretary of State.
    • The regular filing period for the primary election begins on the 30th day before the date of the regular filing deadline, in which a candidate must file no later than 6 p.m. on the second Monday in December of an odd-numbered year.[14]
    • A chart detailing the filing fees and signature requirements can be found here.[15]
    • For candidates seeking the Republican nomination in Texas' 36th Congressional District, the filing deadline had been extended to December 16, 2013.
  • For minor party candidates
    • To be considered for nomination by a convention, candidates must file an application for nomination no later than 6 p.m. on the second Monday in December of an odd-numbered year, preceding the minor party’s convention.[10][16]
    • Candidates seeking nomination for a state or district office must file with the state party chair. Candidates for county or precinct offices must file applications with the county party chair.[10]
  • For independent candidates
    • You may have your name placed on the general election ballot as an independent candidate if you are not affiliated with a political party.[17] If you vote in a party’s primary elections or participate in a party’s conventions, you thereby affiliate with the party.[2][18][19][20]
    • To run as an independent, candidates must file a Declaration of Intent to Run as an Independent Candidate during the same filing period as major and minor party candidates, with the county judge (county or precinct offices) or the Secretary of State (district and state offices).[2][21]
    • The signers must be registered voters who have not participated in the primary election or the runoff primary election of a party that has nominated, at either election, a candidate for the office you seek.[2][22]
    • A chart detailing the signature requirements and where to file for each particular office can be found here.[2]
  • For write-in candidates
    • In order to become a write-in candidate in the general election, candidates must file a Declaration of Write-in Candidacy with the Secretary of State or your county judge, as appropriate, and not later than 5 p.m. of the 78th day before general election day.[23][24]
    • A chart detailing the signature requirements and where to file for each particular office can be found here.[23]
    • The declaration must be accompanied by either a filing fee or a nominating petition signed by a certain number of qualified voters.[23][25]

Petition requirements

In some cases, political parties and/or candidates may need to obtain signatures via the petition process to gain access to the ballot. This section outlines the laws and regulations pertaining to petitions and circulators.

Candidates

General petition requirements related to a candidate's position on the ballot are established in Title 9, Chapter 141, Subchapter (C) of the Texas Election Code. In particular, a person circulating a petition must:

  • (1) before permitting a person to sign, point out and read to the person each statement pertaining to the signer that appears on the petition;
  • (2) witness each signature;
  • (3) ascertain that each date of signing is correct; and
  • (4) before the petition is filed, verify each signer's registration status and ascertain that each registration number entered on the petition is correct.[26]

Petitions are also required to include an affidavit of the person who circulated it, stating that the person:

  • (1) pointed out and read to each signer, before the petition was signed, each statement pertaining to the signer that appears on the petition;
  • (2) witnessed each signature;
  • (3) verified each signer's registration status; and
  • (4) believes each signature to be genuine and the corresponding information to be correct.[27]

The relevant statutes do not stipulate a date on which petitions may begin to circulate.

Campaign finance

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Title 15 of the Texas Election Code

  • Candidates for statewide office, the State Legislature, State Board of Education, and District attorney must file campaign finance reports with the Texas Ethics Commission.
  • Candidates running for public office in Texas must file an Appointment of a Campaign Treasurer by a Candidate (Form CTA) with the Texas Ethics Commission when they become a candidate even if they do not intend to accept campaign contributions or make campaign expenditures.[28]
  • After a candidate has filed a form appointing a campaign treasurer, the candidate is responsible for filing periodic reports of contributions and expenditures. Filing reports is the responsibility of the candidate, not the campaign treasurer.[28]
    • A person may not accept a campaign contribution or make a campaign expenditure unless the person has a campaign treasurer appointment on file with the Texas Ethics Commission.
  • A report must disclose all political contributions accepted during the reporting period.[28]
    • If a contributor contributes $50 or less during the reporting period, contributions from that contributor may be disclosed as part of a lump sum. For other contributions, a filer must disclose the name and address of the contributor, the date of the contribution, and, for in-kind contributions, the nature and value of the contribution.[28]
    • A filer must report any campaign expenditure (regardless of whether it is made from political contributions or from personal funds) and any political expenditure (campaign or officeholder) from political contributions (regardless of whether the expenditure is a political expenditure).[28]

Required Reports

  • Candidates and officeholders who file with the Texas Ethics Commission must file reports electronically unless the filer is entitled to claim the exemption from electronic filing.
    • Report After Appointment of a Campaign Treasurer: Candidates must file a report after filing a campaign treasurer appointment. This report of contributions and expenditures is due no later than 15 days after the campaign treasurer appointment was filed. This report is required even if there is no activity to report.[28]
    • Personal Financial Statement: A candidate for office as an elected officer must file a financial statement within 40 days after the regular deadline for filing an application for a place on the ballot in the March primary election.
    • Semiannual Reports: Every candidate and every officeholder is required to file reports of contributions and expenditures by January 15 and July 15 of each year. Candidates and officeholders must file semiannual reports even if there is no activity to report for the period covered.[28]
    • Final Report: If a filer expects to accept no further political contributions and to make no further political expenditures and if the filer expects to take no further action to get elected to a public office, the filer may file a final report. Filing a final report terminates a filer’s campaign treasurer appointment and relieves the filer from any additional filing obligations as a candidate.[28]

Campaign filing schedule[29]

Deadline Report Report end date Who files
January 15, 2014 January semiannual December 31, 2013 All candidates and officeholders
January 21, 2014 Personal Financial Statement December 31, 2014 All candidates
February 3, 2014 Pre-primary report January 23, 2014 Candidates with primary opponent on ballot
February 24, 2014 Second pre-primary report February 22, 2014 Candidates with primary opponent on ballot
May 19, 2014 Pre-runoff report May 17, 2014 Candidates in primary runoff
July 15, 2014 July semiannual June 30, 2014 All candidates and officeholders
October 6, 2014 30-day pre-general report September 25, 2014 All candidates and officeholders
October 27, 2014 8-day pre-general report October 25, 2014 Candidates with an opponent in general election
January 15, 2015 January semiannual December 31, 2014 All candidates and officeholders

Contribution limits
No statutory limits are placed on campaign contributions in Texas.


Election-related agencies

See also: State election agencies

Candidates running for office will require some form of interaction with the following agencies:

  • Texas Secretary of State-Elections Division
Why: This agency provides and processes nominating petitions, declarations of candidacy and other candidate forms. This agency also accepts payment for requisite filing fees.
208 East 10th Street
Rusk Building, Third Floor
Austin, Texas 78701-2407
Toll Free Phone: 1.800.252.VOTE (8683)
Phone: 512.463.5650
Fax: 512.475.2811
E-mail: elections@sos.state.tx.us
Main Website: http://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/index.shtml
Complaint Website: http://www.sos.ga.gov/cgi-bin/emailelectionscomplaint.asp
  • Texas Ethics Commission
Why: This agency processes campaign finance reports.
201 East 14th St., 10th Floor
Austin, TX 78701
Phone: 512-463-5800
Website: http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/tec

Term limits

State executives

Portal:State Executive Officials
See also: State executives with term limits and States with gubernatorial term limits and Texas state executive official elections, 2014

There are no state executive positions with certain provisions specifying the number of terms allowed.

State legislators

See also: State legislatures with term limits

There are no term limits placed on Texas state legislators.

Congressional partisanship

Portal:Congress
See also: List of United States Representatives from Texas and List of United States Senators from Texas

Here is the current partisan breakdown of the congressional members from Texas as of 2014:

Congressional Partisan Breakdown from Texas
Party U.S. Senate U.S. House Total
     Democratic Party 0 12 12
     Republican Party 2 24 26
TOTALS as of December 2014 2 36 38

State legislative partisanship

Portal:State legislatures

Here is the current partisan breakdown of members of the state legislature of Texas as of 2014:

State Senate

Party As of December 2014
     Democratic Party 12
     Republican Party 19
Total 31

State House

Party As of December 2014
     Democratic Party 55
     Republican Party 94
     Vacancy 1
Total 150

Recent news

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All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

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See also

External links

Official state and federal links

Forms

Other information

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Texas Secretary of State Office, "2014 Minor Party Candidate Information," accessed November 6, 2013
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Texas Secretary of State Office, "Independent Candidates," accessed November 6, 2013
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Texas Tribune, "Some CD-36 Candidates Saw Stockman Switch Coming," accessed December 12, 2013
  4. Texas Republican Party, "Republican Party of Texas Announces Extended Filing Period for Congressional District 36," accessed December 12, 2013
  5. Texas Election Code, "Section 172.054," accessed December 12, 2013
  6. Texas Secretary of State, "Candidate Information," accessed November 8, 2013
  7. Texas Secretary of State, "2014 Independent Candidates," accessed December 5, 2013
  8. Texas Election Code, "Title 9, Section 142.009," accessed December 5, 2013
  9. E-mail consultation with ballot access expert Richard Winger in January 2014.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 10.8 Texas Secretary of State, "Minor Party Candidate Information," accessed December 2, 2013
  11. Texas Election Code, "Sec. 181.005," accessed December 29, 2013
  12. Texas Election Code, "Section 181.006," accessed January 2, 2014
  13. Texas Election Code, "Sec. 181.005," accessed January 2, 2014
  14. Texas Election Code, "Section 172.023," accessed December 23, 2013
  15. Texas Elections Division, "Republican or Democratic Party Nominees," accessed October 31, 2013
  16. Texas Election Code, "Section 181.033," accessed December 23, 2013
  17. Texas Election Code, "Section 1.005(9)," accessed December 23, 2013
  18. Texas Election Code, "Section 142.008," accessed December 23, 2013
  19. Texas Election Code, "Section 162.003," accessed December 23, 2013
  20. Texas Election Code, "Section 162.007," accessed December 23, 2013
  21. Texas Election Code, "Section 142.002(b)(2)," accessed December 23, 2013
  22. Texas Election Code, "Section 142.009," accessed December 23, 2013
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 Texas Elections Division, "Write-In Candidates," accessed November 1, 2013
  24. Texas Election Code, "Section 146.025," accessed December 23, 2013
  25. Texas Election Code, "Section 146.023-146.0232," accessed December 23, 2013
  26. Texas Election Code, "Title 9, Section 141.064," accessed December 31, 2013
  27. Texas Election Code, "Title 9, Section 141.065," accessed December 31, 2013
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 28.4 28.5 28.6 28.7 Texas Ethics Commission, "Campaign Finance Guide for Candidates and Officeholders," accessed December 11, 2013
  29. Texas Ethics Commission, "2014 Filing Schedule for Candidates and Officeholders," accessed December 11, 2013