|TO:||All Election Officials|
|FROM:||Ann McGeehan, Director of Elections|
|DATE:||January 11, 2010|
Monday, January 4, 2010, was the deadline for a person who intends to file as an independent candidate for a county or precinct office to file a Declaration of Intent with your office. We have received questions from some counties concerning the county judges' responsibilities regarding independent candidates, and this memorandum summarizes the process to file as an independent, and your responsibilities as county judge.
For offices that are regularly on the ballot in 2010 for a full term, candidates must have filed a declaration of intent no later than 6:00 p.m. on January 4, 2010. The law prohibits persons from filing more than one declaration of intent to run as an independent candidate. Should this happen in your county, please be aware that any subsequent filing after the filing of a candidate’s first declaration is considered void. Candidates for state or district office must file with the Office of the Secretary of State.
In order to qualify to have their names placed on the ballot, subsequent to filing the declaration of intent, the independent candidates must also file an application, together with a petition, no later than 5:00 p.m. on May 13, 2010. The petition must contain signatures of registered voters in the applicable territory equal to five percent of the votes cast within that applicable territory for the office of Governor in the last gubernatorial election in 2006. For example, if a person is running for county commissioner, the signatures must come from registered voters from that particular commissioner precinct. If five percent of the votes total more than 500, an individual would need only the minimum number of 500 valid signatures. However, if five percent of the 2006 gubernatorial vote is less than 25, then the number of signatures required is the lesser of 25 or 10 percent of the total vote. Independent candidates do not have the option of filing with a filing fee instead of the required petition in lieu of filing fee. The officially-prescribed forms for application for place on the ballot and the supporting petition required to be used are available on our website. Also, on our website is a candidate’s guide, which you may find helpful.
The first day individuals may collect petition signatures for an independent candidate is March 3, 2010, unless a runoff election is to be held for the same office sought by the independent candidate; in that instance, an independent candidate may not collect signatures until April 14, 2010 (the day after the runoff election). Voters are disqualified from signing the petition if they voted in a party primary (general primary election or runoff primary election) and the party made a nomination for the same office as the one sought by the independent candidate at either the primary election or primary runoff election. For example, if a person is running as an independent candidate for the office of county treasurer and there is not a candidate running for county treasurer in the Republican primary, the independent candidate may obtain signatures from voters who voted in the Republican primary. Similarly, if a person did not vote in the March Democratic primary but voted in the April Democratic runoff, and the Democrats nominated a candidate for county treasurer in the March primary, that voter would be ineligible to sign an independent candidate’s petition for county treasurer. Please note that our office advises independent candidates, who file with us, to wait until April 14, 2010 to gather signatures. This is to avoid obtaining signatures of voters who did not vote in the March 2, 2010 primary election, but who may, in fact, vote in a possible April 13, 2010 primary runoff election.
If a vacancy for an unexpired term in an office (that does not regularly appear on the ballot in 2010) occurs after December 30, 2009, a person wanting to file as an independent candidate does not have to file a declaration of intent; however, they are still required to file an application and petition in order to have their name placed on the general election ballot by May 13, 2010. If the vacancy in office occurs on or before April 13, 2010, the filing deadline is still May 13, 2010. If a vacancy for an unexpired term in an office occurs after April 13, 2010, the filing deadline is 5:00 p.m. on the 30th day after the vacancy occurs, or 5:00 p.m. on the 70th day before the November General Election (August 24, 2010), whichever occurs first. Tex. Elec. Code Ann. § 202.007 (Vernon 2003).
If you have any questions regarding the filing of independent candidates, please contact our office toll-free at 1-800-252-2216.
|Independent Candidate's Application for a Place on the General Election Ballot|
|Independent Candidate's Petition for a Place on the Ballot|
c: County Clerks/Elections Administrators