AUSTIN, Texas -- Attorneys for candidates representing several third parties said there are unconstitutional burdens for getting on the ballot.

  • Third-party candidates suing Texas
  • Claim they face unconstitutional burdens

“The purpose of the lawsuit is to restore and protect the right of every Texan to cast a meaningful vote for the candidate of their choice,” Oliver Hall of the Center for Competitive Democracy said.

The 31-page lawsuit details how state law shapes some of the ways candidates may appear on the election day ballot.

First, parties must receive 20 percent of the vote in the previous gubernatorial election, which only Republicans and Democrats have managed for over a century. That alone, according to attorneys, isolates the pool of policy ideas.

“New ideas, new issues that the old established parties may not want to address or may simply disregard,” said Hall.

Third parties can also nominate candidates at conventions with at least 1 percent of Texans who voted for governor in the last election. Those suing say third parties would need to gather more than 80,000 signatures.

“In addition to that there’s a very short window of time for collecting the signatures. Only 75 days are allowed for a minor party and as few as 30 days for a statewide Independent candidate,” said Hall.

Courts will ultimately decide the fate of the third-party process in Texas.

“You have a dead end on the political process. There’s no capacity for innovation, there’s no ability for new voices to come onto the scene and present alternatives in terms of new ideas," says Hall.