A federal court has dismissed the suit filed by the Texas Democratic Party and others to restore the single-punch, straight-party option for the general election. The court ruled that the plaintiffs lacked standing.
“Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit premised on their predicted effects of a forthcoming Texas elections law, which they claim will cause a series of events at polling places, ultimately resulting in their injuries,” wrote federal District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo, an appointee of President Obama. “The Court finds that Plaintiffs’ injuries are not certainly impending and fail to satisfy” the standards under Article III of the U.S. Constitution.
Standing under Article III requires demonstration of an injury in fact that is fairly traceable to the challenged conduct and is likely to redressed by a favorable decision. The Court found that the injuries claimed by the Plaintiffs “are premised on numerous predicated ‘effects’” of eliminating single-punch voting and “hinge on decisions of third parties” such as voters and county election officials “who are not before the Court.”
In a statement, Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton (R) applauded the decision. “Nothing is more vital to preserving our Constitution and the rule of law than the integrity of our voting process, and my office will do everything within its abilities to solidify trust in every election in the state of Texas,” he said.
In March, plaintiffs’ attorneys argued that eliminating the straight-party option would discriminate against minority voters, specifically by creating longer lines at polling places, increasing “roll-off” of down-ballot votes and confusing voters.
The Legislature passed House Bill 25 to end the practice of voting for all of a party’s candidates using a single punch, mark or other action during the 2017 session but delayed its implementation until this year. Two out of every three Texas voters cast straight-party ballots in 2018, a record high percentage in the modern era.
HD59: Stephenville business owner Cody Johnson, who finished third in the March primary (24%), endorsed Rep. J.D. Sheffield (R-Gatesville) in the Republican runoff over Shelby Slawson.
CD4 open: Aaron Harris, chief of staff of U.S. Rep. Lance Gooden (R-Terrell), announced he would seek the Republican nomination to replace former U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Heath) on the general election ballot. Harris is the former executive director of Direct Action Texas, where he focused on “fighting the battle to stop rampant voter fraud in Texas” according to his campaign’s website. Republican county and precinct chairs have an August 8 meeting scheduled to select a nominee to replace Ratcliffe.
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