The B/CS Tea Party Salutes Bruce Fuller

And His Work to Solve the Problem of Candidate Ballot Credentials in Texas.

The Tea Party Movement is comprised of everyday citizens who take the initiative to solve problems they observe in our representative government. Such is the work of all classical republicans, who believe participation in the State is the highest service to their family and community.

Read below to see how Bruce has worked to solve the problem of candidate ballot credentials.

HB 650: The Eligibility of Presidential and Vice-Presidential Candidates to be Placed on the Ballot

(Unofficial Title: “The Presidential Candidate Transparency Act”)

HB650 introduces new legislation that fixes several problems within our current election laws, pertaining to presidential elections – specifically, the procedure for ballot access, and the assurance of candidate eligibility.

The Problem

It’s common knowledge that to be eligible for the office of President, three basic requirements must be met: Minimum age of 35 years, ‘natural born’ citizenship, and a minimum continual US residency of 14 years.

These elements from our Constitution have been in place for over 200 years, and have never been amended. They are also reflected in Texas Election law, as specified in Section 192.031, requiring presidential (and vice presidential) candidates appearing on the General election ballot to be ‘federally qualified’ for the job. But the requirements for gaining access to the Primary ballot are different. This is because the political parties control access to the Primary ballot, for their presidential candidates. According to the Texas Secretary of State (“TXSoS”), the political parties are charged with ensuring (and certifying) that their presidential candidates are indeed federally qualified for the job. (This can be a little like the “fox guarding the hen house”!)

In Texas, the political parties have their candidates complete a simple one-page application form for a place on the ballot, and that application should only get their candidates on to the Primary ballot. But it’s also being accepted for access to the General election ballot, which completely side-steps any attention to the eventual vice-presidential candidate. Inconsistency in the content of the applications is also a problem. The applications for the political party presidential candidates are significantly different between the parties. Here is a comparison of inconsistencies found on the application forms for the Primary election ballot:

Application for Republican Party Presidential Candidates:

  • The form is designed/published by the Republican Party of Texas (“RPT”).
  • When completed, these forms are only filed with the RPT Chair. The TXSoS never sees the application. (Not required to submit.)
  • The form covers the three essential Constitutional eligibility-related elements.
  • Oath of truth & accuracy contains an affirmation of ‘natural-born’ citizenship.
  • Oath is subject to perjury laws, even though it is only directed to the RPT Chair.

Application for Democrat Party Presidential Candidates:

  • The form is designed/published by the Texas Democratic Party (“TDP”).
  • When completed, these forms are only filed with the TDP Chair. The TXSoS never sees the application. (Not required to submit.)
  • With the exception of the candidate’s age, the form does NOT cover the essential Constitutional eligibility-related elements.
  • Oath does NOT contain an affirmation of ‘natural-born’ citizenship, nor is it even asked. Their oath is to ‘party loyalty’.
  • Oath is subject to perjury laws, even though it is only directed to the TDP Chair. But it’s an empty oath, attesting to the truth of nothing relating to Constitutional eligibility, other than the candidate’s age.

Aside from their inconsistencies, the most significant problem with these applications is that the TXSoS never sees them – And more importantly, neither does the public, unless they know how to utilize the “Open Records” laws. How is it that the TXSoS can allow the names of these candidates to be printed on our general election ballot, when nothing is filed with their office, confirming the candidates are federally qualified and Constitutionally eligible for the job? Just because the party says so?

The applications submitted by Write-in and Independent candidates to get on the ballot are also different, but for a reason: The Secretary actually sees these, because they are filed directly with the Secretary’s Elections office. They also acknowledge the vice-presidential running mate. Moreover, Write-in and Independent candidates do not appear a PRIMARY election. Their names only appear on the GENERAL election ballot. Here’s what these applications include:

Application for Write-in or Independent Candidates (“Unaffiliated” with any political party):

  • The form is designed/published by the Texas Secretary of State (“TXSoS”)
  • Covers the three essential Constitutional eligibility-related elements.
  • Self-affirmation of truth and accuracy (“oath”) is directed to the TXSoS.
  • Oath is subject to perjury laws.
  • Asks for the same information on the vice-presidential candidate.Because of the inconsistencies in these applications, our current ballot access process could make it very easy for an ineligible presidential candidate to slip through the cracks, as his/her information passes unchecked.

Legislative Solution

To ensure that each candidate is ‘federally qualified’; this new legislation will introduce a STANDARDIZED application for a place on the GENERAL election ballot, and it will be modeled very similar to the application currently required for Write-in and Independent candidates. These new applications will feature the following:

#1.) Immediately following the respective presidential nominating conventions, the political party nominees will be required to complete this new form for the GENERAL election, even though they’ve already filed an application for a place on the PRIMARY ballot, several months prior. The candidates will file this form with their party chairs.

#2.) The respective political party chairs will be required to submit a copy of the completed applications directly to TXSoS (along with the ‘Certification of Nomination’). Once submitted to the TXSoS, these applications will immediately become an official ‘public record’, available for public inspection – just like the Certification of Nomination documents – and posted on the state’s official website.

#3.) The new application form will contain the following eligibility-related elements:

  • Candidate’s date of birth (verifying the age requirement of 35 years or older).
  • Candidate’s length of residence in the United States (verifying the minimum of 14 years).
  • An affirmation of the candidate’s natural-born United States citizenship status.

#4.) Along with the oath of truth and accuracy, the new form will also contain an authorization for the TXSoS to obtain a certified copy of the candidate’s birth certificate from the original issuing authority, and shall only be obtained at the discretion of the Secretary.

Thank You for Your Support!

By supporting (and ultimately passing) this legislation, Texas will be preserving the honor and integrity of our state’s election process, by giving more clarity to our election laws, and insuring that our ballot is free from potential fraudulent access, by holding the candidates for president and vice-president fully accountable for truth and transparency – regardless of political party affiliation. ~ Kelly Canon, Arlington, TX

For more information, contact State Representative Bill Zedler’s office at Bill.Zedler@House.state.tx.us, or call his office in Austin at 512-463-0374.

HB650 Bill & Docs

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