409 U.S. 803 (1972)

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U.S. Supreme Court


409 U.S. 803

AMERICAN PARTY OF TEXAS et al., applicants,
Bob BULLOCK, Secretary of State of Texas.
No. A-325.

Supreme Court of the United States

October 5, 1972

The application for a temporary restraining order presented to Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, and by him referred to the Court, is denied. Dissenting opinion by Mr. Justice DOUGLAS.

Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, dissenting.

The American Party, seeking to get on the Texas ballot for this year's election, brought an action which asked a three-judge federal court to hold provisions of the Texas election laws unconstitutional.

Texas has four methods of nominating candidates.

First, those whose gubernatorial candidate polled more than 200,000 votes in the last general election may be nominated through primaries. Election Code, Art. 13.02, V.A.T.S. Second, those whose party candidates polled less than 200,000 votes but more than 2% of the total votes cast for governor may be nominated by primaries or by nominating conventions. Third, those whose party candidates polled less than 2% of the total gubernatorial vote and those whose party did not have a nominee for governor in the last general election may be nominated by convention only or by fulfilling the requirements of Art. 13.45(2) of the Election Code. Fourth, nonpartisan and independent candidates

Page 409 U.S. 803 , 804

may appear on the ballot after meeting the requirements of Art. 13.50 of the Election Code.

The American Party falls in the third category. In order to get its nominees printed on the ballot it must meet the following requirements:

It must by the previous September declare its intention to nominate by convention. That entails a state-wide party organization with an executive committee. It also requires the filing with the Secretary of State by February of the names of the candidates; it requires the filing of party rules by March. It requires the holding of precinct conventions on the day of the primary and the holding of county conventions the following week and a state convention on a day certain.

The American Party must in addition do the following:

(1) It must furnish a list of participants in each precinct convention with the names, addresses and registration certificate numbers of qualified voters attending such conventions. The names on the list must total at least 1% of the total votes cast for governor at the last preceding general election.

(2) If the number of qualified voters attending the precinct conventions is less than 1%, there must be filed a petition requesting that the names of the nominees be printed on the election ballot, signed by a sufficient number of additional qualified voters to make a combined total of at least 1% of the total votes cast for governor in the last election.

(3) No person who during the voting year voted at any primary election or participated in any convention of any other party may attend the minority party convention or sign the petition. If he does, he is subject to criminal penalties.

(4) The petition may not be circulated until after the date set for the holding of the major parties primaries. Signatures must be certified before 20 days after the date [409 U.S. 803 , 805]

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