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The Rise of the Political Underdogs: Texas Removes Barrier for Third-Party Candidates

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

A federal judge in Austin has recently blocked Texas from enforcing a longstanding state law that required third-party candidates to collect petition signatures on paper to qualify for a place on the ballot, according to an article Texas Tribune released yesterday.

The law, which had been in place for 118 years, was ruled unconstitutional as it unfairly burdened minor political parties and candidates. Major political parties were not subjected to the same requirement. The lawsuit challenging the law was filed in 2019 by four minor political parties: the Libertarian Party of Texas, the Green Party of Texas, America's Party of Texas, and the Constitution Party of Texas.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman allows third-party candidates in Texas to collect petition signatures electronically, eliminating the need for paper signatures. This change is expected to significantly reduce the time, money, and resources required for third-party candidates to qualify for the ballot. Previously, minor party candidates had to obtain 83,717 paper signatures within a 75-day period. The plaintiffs argued that the old system disproportionately favored major parties and restricted voters' choices.

Whitney Bilyeu, chair of the Libertarian Party of Texas, expressed the importance of preserving free and fair elections and emphasized the positive impact of the ruling. The use of electronic signatures will facilitate a more accessible and streamlined process for third-party candidates, potentially encouraging greater participation and offering voters more options at the polls. The legal challenge was supported by the Center for Competitive Democracy and Shearman & Sterling, a multinational law firm, who provided pro bono representation for the plaintiffs.

The ruling marks a significant change in Texas election law, removing a major obstacle for third-party candidates and promoting a more open and competitive electoral landscape. The decision to allow electronic signatures reflects the recognition of technological advancements and the need to modernize the ballot qualification process, which had remained unchanged for over a century. The case highlights the ongoing efforts to ensure fair and inclusive elections in Texas. It could have implications for similar laws in other jurisdictions seeking to enhance access and choice for voters.

The timing couldn't have come at a better time. The results of a recent survey by Suffolk University/USA TODAY this month regarding the hypothetical 2024 presidential election provided an exciting snapshot of the current political landscape.

With a sample size of 1,000 respondents, the survey asked participants to indicate their voting preferences between Joe Biden, Donald Trump, or a third-party candidate. Among the respondents, 33.8% expressed their intention to vote for Joe Biden, while 32.2% favored Donald Trump. These figures suggest a relatively close race between the two major party candidates, indicating a divided electorate.

Interestingly, a significant % of respondents, accounting for 22.9%, expressed support for a third-party candidate.

This finding indicates that a notable segment of the population remains dissatisfied with the two major party options and seeks an alternative.

Additionally, nearly 10% of the respondents were undecided, implying that the race is far from settled and that there is room for shifts in voter preferences as the election approaches. A small percentage of respondents, 1.3%, refused to disclose their voting intentions.

When the survey shifted the options to Joe Biden, Ron DeSantis, and a third-party candidate, the results showed even more intriguing changes. Joe Biden maintained a lead, with 32.8% of respondents supporting him.

However, Ron DeSantis, the Republican governor of Florida, emerged as a strong contender, with 25.9% of the respondents expressing their preference for him. This indicates a significant level of support for DeSantis, suggesting that he could be a formidable opponent to Biden if he were to secure the Republican nomination.

Like the previous question, the survey found that 24.6% of respondents favored a third-party candidate. Furthermore, 14.1% of respondents remained undecided, highlighting the fluid nature of voter preferences and the potential for shifts in support. A small percentage of respondents, 2.6%, refused to disclose their voting choice.

In conclusion, the survey results provide valuable insights into the hypothetical 2024 presidential election. The data reflects a closely contested race between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, with a notable portion of the electorate indicating support for a third-party candidate.

However, when Ron DeSantis was introduced as an alternative to Biden, he garnered significant support, revealing his potential as a strong contender within the Republican party. With a substantial number of undecided voters and a persistent interest in third-party options, it is evident that the political landscape remains dynamic, and voter preferences are subject to change in the lead-up to the 2024 election.

Those married to their political parties and candidates may be in for a rude awaking in 2024 if more third parties in the other states in this country fall suit as the ones in Texas did. The effect can also trickle down to the local races occurring during the 2024 Presidential Elections.

The time is now for the liberty-focused parties to start highlighting their local activism and less of what the authoritarian parties do to destroy our individual rights and freedoms at every turn. It will be up to us to put our differences aside and come together to take down the authoritarian empire that runs our country today.

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Doni Anthony (Doni The Don) Introducing Doni Anthony (Doni The Don), Founder of Liberty Or Else and a passionate advocate for individual liberties and natural human rights.

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