Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
WHAT IS THE TEXAS VOTER CHOICE ACT?
The Texas Voter Choice Act is a bill that protects your right to vote for the candidate of your choice by reforming outdated, inefficient and burdensome regulations that prevent qualified Texans from appearing on the ballot as independents or minor party nominees.
WHAT CHANGES DOES THE TEXAS VOTER CHOICE ACT MAKE?
The Texas Voter Choice Act:
modernizes outdated and inefficient ballot access procedures by authorizing voters to sign nomination petitions online using a secure portal maintained by the Secretary of State;
improves access for minor party and independent candidates by establishing reasonable signature requirements and filing deadlines that are proven sufficient to maintain orderly elections; and
eliminates unnecessary regulations, like the requirement that independent candidates file declarations of candidacy in December before an election year, and the prohibition against primary election voters signing a minor party or independent candidate’s nomination petitions.
WHY IS THE TEXAS VOTER CHOICE ACT NEEDED?
Ballot access laws in Texas are among the most restrictive in the nation. Qualified candidates are routinely barred from the ballot based on technicalities, or because they lack the huge sums of money needed to comply with the onerous signature requirements. As a result, Texans are denied a free choice at the polls. One third of the Texas electorate – 5 million voters – are independent and shouldn’t be forced to choose between only two partisan candidates. Yet in each election cycle, around half the races for Texas legislature have only one candidate running unopposed, giving voters no choice at all. When voters lack meaningful choices, elected officials are less responsive and accountable.
WHAT MAKES IT SO HARD TO GET ON THE BALLOT IN TEXAS?
The combination of high signature requirements, a short petitioning period, early filing deadlines and many other burdensome and complicated regulations make getting on the ballot almost impossible without hiring professionals. At the current rate of $3 per signature, it costs minor parties or independent candidates for statewide office hundreds of thousands of dollars just to get on the ballot – and they likely have to do it all over again in the next election cycle.
WON’T ELIMINATING ALL THOSE REGULATIONS CAUSE PROBLEMS?
No – just the opposite. Texas is still relying on ballot access procedures that were enacted more than 100 years ago, and are long overdue for an update. The Texas Voter Choice Act adopts best practices that have proven successful in other states. For example, Arizona has already implemented online signature gathering, and Texas itself already authorizes electronic signatures for absentee ballot requests and other electoral functions. The specific requirements established by the Texas Voter Choice Act are also supported by empirical data. Most important, no state that required as few as 5,000 signatures for statewide office has ever had more than 8 candidates on the ballot, and the Texas Voter Choice Act requires 10,000 signatures.
HOW CAN I HELP?
- Become a Member to Support the Texas Voter Choice Act now.
- Call your Representative and Senator and tell them to support the Texas Voter Choice Act.