After Tuesday’s runoffs, we now know all of the Republican and Democratic nominees for the general election. We already knew all of the Libertarian Party’s nominees following their state convention. Collectively, these are the vast majority of candidates who will end up on the ballot in November, but there are still several groups of potential candidates whose status remains pending:
- Candidates nominated by political parties who do not currently have ballot access,
- Candidates who filed declarations of intent to run as independents, and
- Write-in candidates.
Each of these groups of potential candidates has different deadlines that will determine whether they make the ballot. We won’t know the final candidate list for another three months.
The Green Party, America’s Party of Texas and None of the Above face a Tuesday deadline to submit their petitions signed by at least 47,183 registered voters who did not participate in another party’s nominating process. All three parties have candidates who filed to be their nominees in November. Two additional parties are seeking ballot access but have no candidates.
Candidates wishing to run as independents had to file declarations of intent by December 11, the same filing deadline for candidates seeking a partisan nomination. In order to be on the general election ballot, these candidates must file an application and petition with the minimum number of required signatures by June 21. Statewide candidates must have at least 47,183 signatures. Candidates for other state offices must have at least 500 signatures or 5% of the number of voters who cast ballots in the previous election, whichever is lower. As with the political party petitions, these signatures must come from registered voters who did not participate in a party’s nominating process.
The universe of these two groups of potential candidates is known. They had to file by December 11. The filing period for a write-in candidacy has not yet occurred.
Votes for write-in candidates are only officially counted if they are certified by the Secretary of State (or county judge for local offices). Write-in candidates may file between July 21 and August 20. Like independent candidates, write-in candidates must turn in petitions with a minimum number of signatures. The number of signatures is different. For statewide races, petitions need at least 5,000 signatures instead of 47,183. For other races, the signature requirements are at least 500 signatures or 2% of the number of voters who cast ballots in the previous election, whichever is lower.
So, an uncontested candidate today can still end up with an opponent. The final general election ballot will not be set until at least August 24, which is the last day a candidate may withdraw or be declared ineligible for the general election.
In the meantime, we have reset our Crib Sheets for the general election and given a preliminary rating to each contested race.
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