For Immediate release Carly Rose Jackson
TEXAS VOTER CHOICE ACT INTRODUCED IN TEXAS HOUSE TO PROVIDE
VOTERS MORE MEANINGFUL CHOICES ON ELECTION DAY
Reform Coalition calls for deregulation of Texas ballot access laws to
remove barriers, lower signature requirements and streamline process
March 14, 2017 (Austin, TX) – Texans for Voter Choice, a new reform coalition formed to promote Texans’ freedom of choice at the polls, today called on the Texas Legislature to enact HB 3068, known as the Texas Voter Choice Act (“TVCA”). The TVCA establishes reasonable requirements for new party and independent candidates to appear on the ballot. The legislation will eliminate unnecessary barriers, and modernize the 100-year-old election process by requiring online signature gathering, which will eliminate much of the burden and expense of the current system.
Ballot access laws for non-major party candidates 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.
“Texans for Voter Choice want ballot access rules to be fair, so that a wider variety of perspectives can be heard. Making the ballot access rules so complicated means potential candidates spend time and money serving the bureaucracy instead of getting out to know their constituents and the challenges they face.” said Carly Rose Jackson, state director of Texans for Voter Choice.
The TVCA updates and improves the Texas Election Code in three important ways:
- It caps nomination petition signature requirements at 10,000 for statewide office and makes filing deadlines consistent with constitutional standards;
- It replaces unreliable, inefficient and costly paper-based processes with secure, proven web-based technology;
- It simplifies ballot access by eliminating unnecessary filing requirements.
One third of the Texas electorate – 5 million voters – are independents. Yet in each election cycle, half the races for the state legislature have only one major party candidate running unopposed. This gives voters no choice at all. When voters lack meaningful choices, elected officials are less responsive and accountable.
As Mark Miller, vice chair of the Libertarian Party of Texas and former statewide candidate explained, “It is hard to imagine that our current political polarization will change without a more open process that embraces a greater variety of voter choice. The Texas Voter Choice act ensures that we will reap the benefits that ensue when a diversity of ideas and candidates can more effectively compete for their votes.”
“In the last election cycle, we heard a loud call from voters for more options,” said Katija Gruene, Secretary of the Green Party of Texas. “The Texas Voter Choice act will open up the ballot and increase voter turnout, like other states with better ballot access laws, more candidates and parties.”
“Our elected Representatives should represent “We the People”, but in Texas this is nearly impossible. Voters are subject to ‘sore loser’ laws that insulate incumbents and restrict efforts to create alternatives to the status quo. America’s Party of Texas supports the Texas Voter Choice Act because it’s the best way to return the Texas government to its rightful place, in service to Texans.” – Andy Prior, State Chairman.
Samantha “Sam” Davis, former state senior staffer for the Sanders presidential campaign and new League of Independent Voters of Texas board member said: “I don’t believe either party represents the majority of working people and our concerns. I’m on the people’s side, which is why I am an Independent populist. And I am not alone: 50% of all Millennials identify as Independent.”
Texans for Voter Choice will be building public support to pass HB 3068 before the end of the legislative session on May 29th. For more information on the coalition and how to get involved visit texasvoterchoice.org.