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In re Wilson

Court of Appeals of Texas, Second District, Fort Worth

January 15, 2014

IN RE STEPHANIE WILSON, RELATOR

For Relator: DAN WYDE, DALLAS, TX.

For Respondent: DANIEL P. SULLIVAN & STEPHEN C. MAXWELL, STEPHEN C. MAXWELL, P.C., FORT WORTH, TX.

PANEL: LIVINGSTON, C.J.; WALKER and GABRIEL, JJ.

OPINION

TERRIE LIVINGSTON, CHIEF JUSTICE

ORIGINAL PROCEEDING

Stephanie Wilson filed a petition for writ of mandamus pursuant to section 273.061 of the election code seeking to compel

Page 687

Deborah Peoples, the Chair of the Tarrant County Democratic Party, to " accept . . . Wilson's Application, Petition and filing fee and to certify her name . . . upon the ballot of the 2014 Democrat Party general primary ballot" for Justice of the Peace Precinct 8. Tex. Elec. Code Ann. § 273.061 (West 2010) (providing that court of appeals may issue a writ of mandamus to compel performance of any duty imposed by law in connection with holding of an election). Wilson alleges that Peoples improperly determined that she had not obtained sufficient petition signatures in accordance with election code section 172.021(e) because--after initially reviewing and accepting her application and petition--Peoples later determined that there were too many invalid signatures. Id. § 172.021(e) (West Supp. 2013) (providing that justice of the peace candidate must obtain a minimum of 250 signatures).

In conjunction with the petition for writ of mandamus, Wilson has also filed a petition for writ of injunction, case number 02-14-00009-CV, seeking an order enjoining Steve Raborn, the Tarrant County Elections Administrator, from printing ballots that include the office sought by Wilson until this original proceeding can be heard. Peoples has responded to both the petition for writ of mandamus and petition for writ of injunction, and Raborn has responded to the petition for writ of injunction. In a separate opinion, we are denying the petition for writ of injunction.

Applicable Facts

In an affidavit attached to her responses, Peoples avers as follows:

o Wilson originally attempted to file her application, petition, and filing fee on December 9, 2013, the filing deadline, at 10:00 a.m. Peoples " noticed a problem with the signature petitions involving the notarization of the signature of the circulator . . . and advised [Wilson] to correct the problem or to in some other way obtain the required number of signatures so that she could submit a valid application."
o Wilson returned at 5:45 p.m. with " several more signature petitions, constituting some twenty-nine pages . . . purport[ing] to have 287 signatures." Peoples " reviewed those petitions, and did not find any facial errors or incorrect statements. Therefore, she " accepted ...

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