Judge dismisses Dallas Republicans' lawsuit to kick Democrats off the November ballot

Republicans said the Democratic county chair never signed the candidates' ballot applications. Democrats called the suit a frivolous partisan attack.

Primary election day at a polling place in South Austin on March 6, 2018. Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

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A Dallas judge has dismissed a case that aimed to kick more than 80 area Democrats off the November ballot, putting an end to a dispute that could have upended the midterm elections in one of the state’s Democratic strongholds.

The Dallas County Republican Party sued in January, alleging that Carol Donovan, the Democrats’ county chair, did not sign the candidates’ ballot applications before submitting them, as required by law. But State District Judge Eric Moyé ruled Monday that Dallas County Republican Party Chairwoman Missy Shorey did not have standing to bring the lawsuit, handing Donovan and the Democrats a win.

Democrats dismissed the lawsuit as a partisan attack, saying Republicans aimed to win in court because they knew they could not win at the ballot box. And some criticized the lawsuit — whose Democratic targets were largely minorities — as an attempt to disenfranchise voters of color.

“This frivolous lawsuit was a thinly veiled attempt by the Dallas County Republican Party to take away the ability of minority voters in Dallas County to elect the candidates of their choice,” said state Rep. Eric Johnson, a black Dallas Democrat who would have been excluded from the ballot had Republicans prevailed in the lawsuit. "The Republican Party seems to be doing everything in its power to show minority voters that it has little regard for them at the national, state, and now local level.”

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Also at issue was the political affiliation of the judge. Republicans unsuccessfully tried to remove Moyé, a Democrat, from the case.