Monday was the deadline for independent candidates for president to get on the ballot in Texas.
Nobody showed up.
The Texas Secretary of State’s office, which administers elections, closed its doors Monday afternoon with no applications. And they would have noticed, too: Independent candidates have to submit their names along with petitions from 79,939 registered voters who, like the candidates themselves, did not take part in either the Republican or Democratic primaries.
That’s a pile of paper.
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In the wake of Donald Trump’s imminent nomination as the Republican Party’s candidate for president, there has been some chatter in conservative ranks about a third-party candidate more palatable to the GOP establishment.
It’s getting late for that. The general election is in six months, and state deadlines for filing are starting to come up on the calendar.
But an independent candidate could still have a chance to get on all 50 state ballots — even in Texas, where the deadline has passed. A successful lawsuit by John Anderson — an independent candidate who ran and lost in 1980 — knocked out Ohio’s early deadline for independent candidates’ applications. Other states’ deadlines have fallen victim to that precedent, and now Texas has the earliest remaining deadline.
If somebody really wants to run, that’s potential grounds for a challenge.
And there is one more option: Between July 23 and Aug. 22, politicians can file as official write-in candidates for president. The difference between official and unofficial? The state counts the votes for official write-in candidates and not for the unofficial ones.
This is the law that keeps Spongebob Squarepants and other unregistered candidates from getting the electoral consideration they deserve.