The Dallas County Republican Party wants a slew of Democrats — candidates for offices ranging from justice of the peace to U.S. House representative — kicked off the ballot ahead of Texas' March primaries. Dallas County's Democratic Party chairwoman failed to sign the candidates' ballot applications before they were submitted to the state, according to the suit, making the applications incomplete.
According to Democrats, the suit is just Texas Republicans' latest attempt to suppress votes in the state's poor and minority communities.
"This is just a new low for Republicans in Texas who have decided that the way they're going to relate to minority voters is that they're going to double down on their voter suppression strategy," state Rep. Eric Johnson says. "There was a time when they thought they should actually reach out to minority voters and try to win them over to the Republican Party. They've completely abandoned that, and now it's just nuclear, scorched earth, 'We will keep them from the ballot box at all costs.'"
Elizabeth Alvarez Bingham, the Dallas County GOP's lawyer in the case, did not return the Observer's call, but she told The Dallas Morning News that rules are rules.
"The Election Code says the chairman, and nobody else, has to sign them," Alvarez Bingham said. "Carol Donovan is the chair. She was supposed to sign them. She didn't do it."
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Johnson, along with state Sen. Royce West, state Rep. Victoria Neave and a host of other candidates, are named in the suit. Johnson's ballot application, the GOP says, was "signed by a John Doe #1 with a signature that does not match defendant Donovan’s signature on her own application for inclusion on the party primary ballot for party chair."
The suit came as a surprise to Johnson and his fellow Democrats, who found out about the challenge Sunday evening. While he and his team haven't had time to fully investigate the claims made by the Dallas County GOP, Johnson says he doesn't believe the suit has merit.
"This is not about election integrity or whatever the Republicans might try to spin this to be about," he says. "They are not concerned about someone trying to undermine the election code with these 128 filings. They are concerned with wiping out the entire slate of Democratic candidates and leaving people with no choice but the Republicans. That's what they've been reduced to."