Texas Republicans are trying to purge Democrats from ballots: report

The Dallas County GOP believes the county's Democratic leader did not sign the petitions of 128 candidates

By Charlie May
Published January 22, 2018 8:37AM (EST)
 (AP/David Goldman)
(AP/David Goldman)

Dallas County Republicans have filed a lawsuit on Friday alleging that the county's Democratic Party leader did not sign the petitions of 128 Democratic primary candidates, placing them in jeopardy of being kicked off the March 6 primary ballot.

Republicans believe Dallas County Democratic Party Chairman Carol Donovan violated state law by not signing the petitions, prior to sending them to the Texas Secretary of State's office, The Dallas Morning News reported. If the lawsuit were to be successful, 128 Democrats would be wiped from the ballots, providing Republicans with ample opportunity to potentially sweep upcoming elections in November.

"The Election Code says the chairman, and nobody else, has to sign them," Elizabeth Alvarez Bingham, a lawyer for the Dallas County Republican Party, told the DMN. "Carol Donovan is the chair. She was supposed to sign them. She didn't do it."

The lawsuit was filed on Friday, and Democrats were first notified of the lawsuit when a lawyer for the party showed them on Sunday afternoon. Donovan hasn't pushed back on the assertion that she didn't sign the petitions, as required by state law, but said the lawsuit is being taken "seriously."

"We have assembled a legal team of Dallas' best and brightest Democratic election law attorneys," Donovan said in a news release, Dallas News reported. "Though we are taking this case seriously, the Republican Party's lawsuit is not supported by Texas law. We will fight to ensure that all Democratic voters in Dallas County can participate in a fair Primary election."

Donovan added, "It is clear by this attack that the Dallas County GOP cannot win at the ballot box, so they are trying to litigate their way into victories in Dallas County, with no concern for Dallas County voters."

Candidates who stand to be removed from the ballot, such as Sen. Royce West, have called it a last resort by Republicans who are struggling to compete with them in the county.

"This is just Republican shenanigans," West said, Dallas News reported. "Republicans are trying to drive a wedge in the Democratic Party because they can't be competitive in the county."

The lawsuit said Donovan signed only some of the candidate's petitions, while the others contained a signature that wasn't hers. A total of seven primary petitions have been challenged by both Republicans, as well as other Democrats.

"We didn't do this as election strategy. It's our job to follow the election code," Bingham said. "Their candidates should not be upset with us. They should be upset with the Dallas County Democratic Party."

Charlie May

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