Barr Files Suit to Keep Obama and McCain Off Texas Ballot

Bob BarrLibertarian candidate Bob Barr has filed a lawsuit to keep John McCain and Barack Obama off of the ballot in Texas.

Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr has filed suit that would keep voters from seeing the names Barack Obama and John McCain on their voting machines, saying they failed to follow the Texas law to get their names placed on the ballot. The Libertarians are claiming that both the Texas Democratic and Republican parties missed the deadline to certify their presidential nominees and report them to the Texas Secretary of State.

Texas law says that has to happen 70 days prior to the general election. The problem? Neither party held its convention in time to meet that Aug. 26 deadline. Obama and Joe Biden were nominated by roll call vote on Aug. 27, and McCain and Sarah Palin until Sept. 3.

Here is the Texas statute in question:

192.031. PARTY CANDIDATE’S ENTITLEMENT TO PLACE ON BALLOT. A political party is entitled to have the names of its nominees for president and vice-president of the United States placed on the ballot in a presidential general election if:

(1) the nominees possess the qualifications for those offices prescribed by federal law;

(2) before 5 p.m. of the 70th day before presidential election day, the party’s state chair signs and delivers to the secretary of state a written certification of:
(A) the names of the party’s nominees for president and vice-president; and
(B) the names and residence addresses of presidential elector candidates nominated by the party,
in a number equal to the number of presidential electors that federal law allocates to this
state; and

(3) the party is:
(A) required or authorized by Subchapter A of Chapter 172 to make its nominations by primary election; or
(B) entitled to have the names of its nominees placed on the general election ballot under Chapter 181.

Despite this grounding, though, I have a hunch that Barr is going to lose this lawsuit.

(link via David Weigel)

FILED UNDER: 2008 Election, Law and the Courts, , , , , , ,
Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.


  1. DL says:

    What this man has taught me about judging character. I used to like him – How wrong I was.

  2. Michael A says:

    You would think that the two major parties, filled to the rim with lawyers as they are, would have canvassed all the state laws necessary for filing before scheduling their conventions.

  3. Patrick T McGuire says:

    He has a good case and it will be interesting to see a judge find a way around the law. And Barr will be able to make his case about laws not being followed anymore by either party. Given that this is the state that gave us Ron Paul, this might get real interesting indeed!

  4. Anderson says:

    I think the Obama campaign should quickly concede the merits of Barr’s position, and donate about half a million each to the campaign funds of the Texas Supreme Court’s justices — via proxy of course.

  5. We went through this last time (2004) when the ZGOP had their convention so late that it was likewise impossible to meet the deadlines. Shockingly, the Reps were still on the ballot in November.

    I am all for the law being followed, but this is a clear example of the law not being in conformity with evolving practices–the conventions are simply later now than they used to be. Texas is simple going to have to fix the law at some point.

  6. Michael says:

    Given that this is the state that gave us Ron Paul, this might get real interesting indeed!

    So we’ll go from Paul-bots to, what, Barr-bers?

  7. William d'Inger says:

    In a Federal election, I’ll bet Texas law doesn’t mean squat. Barr is just getting a little free advertisement in the news media. It’s not like it will make any difference.

  8. san says:

    So we’ll go from Paul-bots to, what, Barr-bers

    Barrbells — more like it, I think.

  9. Michael says:

    Barrbells — more like it, I think.

    Heh, much better than mine.

  10. The case will likely get thrown out due to lack of standing for the LP to bring the suit to begin with.

  11. Steve Verdon says:

    I believe there is an exception to that part of the Texas law if a party gains a larege enough percentage of the votes. I believe both the Democrats and the Republicans have meet that level so the exception will apply and Barr will lose.

    The only reason I can think of for the lawsuit is to get media attention.