Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht’s Democratic opponent has filed suit seeking to delay the printing of ballots and other election material to allow time to investigate potential problems with Hecht’s candidacy petitions.
Several unfilled blanks in petitions from the Fort Worth area could invalidate signatures, leaving Hecht short of support needed to be a legitimate candidate, said the lawsuit by San Antonio lawyer Michele Petty.
Statewide judicial candidates must collect signatures from 50 registered voters in each of the state’s 14 appeals court districts.
Petty’s lawsuit, filed Friday in Travis County District Court, said several Hecht petitions did not have three blanks filled out – showing the candidate’s name, office sought and place number – in the Spanish-language portion of the forms.
Petitions also included inaccurate affidavits and problems with notary forms, the lawsuit said.
To allow time to investigate election law, Petty’s lawsuit seeks an injunction preventing the Republican Party of Texas and Secretary of State Hope Andrade from printing election materials or ballots containing Hecht’s name.
“We’re going to be taking some statements regarding that. If we find out there are irregularities, we’ll let you know; if not, we’ll drop the case,” Petty said today.
The lawsuit asks for Hecht any any replacement candidate to be barred from the general election. According to Ballot Access News, “Texas courts have usually not enforced ultra-strict compliance with such technicalities”. I can’t think of a recent example of a candidate who was allowed onto the primary ballot but then knocked off the ticket in November. Judge Hecht richly deserves to be sent packing, but I am not particularly comfortable with this kind of technical disqualification. The law is the law, but the remedy is awfully harsh and deprives the voters of a choice. Still, the candidates are responsible for dotting all the I’s and crossing all the T’s, and the party chairs are supposed to make sure they do that. I don’t know. We’ll see. TexParte has more.