Recently there seems to have been confusion over official procedures for filling a vacancy for a Republican Nominee on the General Election Ballot. To clearly promulgate those procedures, Texas Republican Party Secretary Rena Peden offers the following:
Memo To: Parker County Pct. 4 Chairs
From: Rena Peden, Secretary, Republican Party of Texas
Date: June 23, 2016
Subject: Filling the Justice of the Peace Pct. 4 vacancy
I have been receiving inquiries into the process for selecting a candidate for JP 4 for the November ballot and have been asked to verify with the State Party what that process is. There seem to be concerns that the process as defined in election law is not consistent with the activities in Parker County. Rather than just respond to a few, I felt that all precinct 4 chairs should be aware that questions have been raised and can benefit from any knowledge that we get on this subject.
Approximately two weeks ago, the State Republican Party sent out information on filling vacancies. It defines what the County Chair’s and the Pct. 4 Executive Committee’s (Pct. 4 Pct. Chairs) role is in the selection of a candidate for the JP 4 position for the November ballot. I am attaching that information in case you did not receive it.
Basically, it states:
- The County Chair Calls a meeting of the Specific Executive Committee (which I believe has been done for July 28).
- Notify attendees (Pct. 4 Pct. Chairs) of the time, date and place of the meeting.
- Date – The meeting must be held after the new precinct chairs take office (June 13, 2016).
- Members of the Committee – Only the Precinct Chairs within that region (in this case Parker County Pct. 4 Pct Chairs). This excludes the County Chair as a member as that position is county wide.
- Quorum – For the purposes of filling a vacancy a majority of the committee’s members constitutes a quorum (145.036(d)).
- Executive Committee meeting’s first order of business – elect a chairman to conduct the business of the committee.
- The County Chair will open the meeting then the members elect a chairman of the Precinct Executive Committee from among themselves.
At this point the committee makes decisions on the process for selecting a candidate for the ballot. This would include setting a schedule, selecting locations and securing resumes, etc. of those interested in being selected as the Republican candidate. The County Chair is not empowered by law to make those decisions for the committee since the Chair is not a member of the committee.
However, the County Chair has published a memo on this subject instructing applicants to send applications to her by July 1. I have been told there will be a review of these applications by a nominations committee appointed by the Co. Chair. This committee has no standing in this particular selection process and this action generated a number of questions as to whether the law was being properly followed. Following the process as prescribed by law is imperative so candidates can feel comfortable that the process will not be challenged.
I have reviewed this situation with our party legal expert on election law. He has confirmed that the authority to define the process rests solely with the Pct.4 Executive Committee and the County Chairs participation is limited to calling the initial meeting for that body.
He has indicated that he called Zan Prince this morning to remind her of her limited role in the process and ensure she understands she is not a member of the Pct. 4 Exec. Committee.
I hope this addresses all the questions I have been asked but, if not, please feel free to call. I will also be happy to put you in touch with our Party’s legal expert if you have questions you would like to ask him directly.
Rena Peden, Secretary, Republican Party of Texas
Parker Co. Grassroots Activist
Resident, Parker County Pct. 4
cc: Zan Prince
See the following for further clarification:
Filling a Vacancy for Republican Nominee on General Election Ballot
If a Republican Nominee withdraws, dies or is declared ineligible on or before Friday August 26, 2016 the following is a rough outline of the process which should be followed to select their replacement.
- Determine if the vacancy meets one of the three requirements to be filled
An executive committee may make a replacement nomination following withdrawal only if:
o The candidate vacating nomination:
- Dies or withdraws because of catastrophic illness that was diagnosed after December
15, 2015 and on or before August 26, 2016 (the 74th day before the general election
primary day) and the illness would permanently and continuously incapacitate the candidate and prevent the candidate from performing the duties of the office sought; and
- Files with the withdrawal request a certificate describing the illness and signed by at
least two licensed physicians OR
o No political party that held a primary election (e.g. Democratic Party) has a nominee for the office sought by the withdrawing candidate as of the time of the withdrawal OR
o The candidate has been elected or appointed to fill a vacancy in other elective office or has become the nominee for another office
- Determine the Office in Question
- Multi County District
o Examples: Court of Appeals, State Representative, State Senator, District Judges
o Examples: County Judge, Sheriff, County Clerk
- Precinct, in only part of the county
o Examples: County Commissioners, Constables, Justices of the Peace
- Call meeting of Specific Executive Committee. Notify attendees of the time, date and place of the meeting.
o The meeting must be held after the new precinct chairs take office (June 13, 2016).
- Multi County District
o State Chair calls the District Executive Committee Meeting
o Members – The members of the committee are the members of each County Executive
Committee (CEC) who reside in the district.
o County Chair calls the County Executive Committee Meeting
o Members – all Precinct Chairs and the County Chair
- Precinct, in only part of the county
o Are there at least three voting precincts?
- Yes – County Chair calls the Precinct Executive Committee Meeting
- Members – Only the Precinct Chairs within that region
- (If there are no Precinct Chairs in that region then the answer is No)
- No – County Chair calls the County Executive Committee Meeting
- Members – all Precinct Chairs and the County Chair
- Committee Meets
o For the purposes of filling a vacancy a majority of the committee’s members constitutes a quorum (145.036(d))
- Executive Meeting first order of business – elect a chair
o Multi County
- State Chair will open the meeting if held in one location, then the members elect a chair
of the District Executive Committee from among themselves. If held separately in each
county, each county’s membership elects a chair from among themselves.
- The County Chair opens the meeting and is the chair of the County Executive Committee
o Precinct, in only part of the county
- The County Chair will open the meeting then the members elect a chair of the Precinct
Executive Committee from among themselves.
- The Executive Committee is not required to select the nominee at the first meeting.
- Nominee Selected and Certified
- The Chair of the Executive Committee is required to certify the candidate, in writing, to the correct election authority.
o Certification deadline 5pm on Monday, August 29, 2016
- If mailed, certification is based on time of receipt, not postmark
o Written Certification must include
- Nominee’s residence address and mailing address (if different)
- Name of the original nominee
- Office sought, including place number or other distinguishing number
- Cause of vacancy must be stated
- Withdrawal, death, ineligibility
- Identification of Executive Committee making nomination
- Date of nomination
- Must be signed and acknowledged by Executive Committee Chair
o Election authority
- Multi County
- Texas Secretary of State
- Countywide – OR – Precinct, in only part of the county
- County Elections Administrator or County Clerk
Other Important Information and Best Practices
- The same residency requirements apply to any selected nominee as are required to file for the office.
County Chairs can assist and be a great resource for this information.
o For the purposes of calculating the residency requirement, count backwards from the date of the nomination.
- It is highly suggested that all meetings be open to the public with all business being discussed there.
- Friday, August 26, 2016 – Last day a vacancy can occur for vacancy to be filled
- Monday, August 29, 2016 @ 5pm – Deadline for certification of replacement nominee
Quick Reference Texas Election Code
- Deadline for withdrawal – 145.032
- Authority with whom withdrawal request filed – 145.033
- Copy of withdrawal request delivered to executive committee – 145.034
- Withdrawn, deceased, or ineligible candidate’s name omitted from ballot – 145.035
- Filling vacancy in nomination – 145.036
- Certification of replacement on ballot – 145.037
- Failure of district executive committee to make replacement nomination – 145.038
- Deceased or ineligible candidate’s name to appear on general election ballot – 145.039
- Committee composition: district situated in more than one county; first meeting – 171.054
- Committee composition: precinct with three or more election precincts; first meeting – 171.072
- Committee composition: precinct with fewer than three election precincts – 171.073