Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re Walker

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourteenth District

January 13, 2020

IN RE BARBARA WALKER, Relator

          ORIGINAL PROCEEDING WRIT OF MANDAMUS Grimes County, Texas

          Panel consists of Justices Frost, Christopher, and Bourliot.

          OPINION

          PER CURIAM

         Relator Barbara Walker holds the office of County Commissioner for Precinct 3 of Grimes County, Texas. She is a candidate for re-election to that office in the March 3, 2020 Democratic Party Primary Election.

         On January 6, 2020, relator filed a petition for writ of mandamus in this court. See Tex. Gov't Code Ann. § 22.221 (Supp.); see also Tex. R. App. P. 52. In the petition, relator asks this court to compel Grimes County Democratic Party Chairman James Harris ("Harris") to declare Michael Raska ("Raska") ineligible as a candidate for the office of County Commissioner Precinct 3 for Grimes County, Texas because Raska was not a registered voter in Precinct 3 on the December 9, 2019 deadline for filing his application for a place on the ballot, as required by section 141.001(a)(6) of the Election Code. See Tex. Elec. Code Ann. §141.001(a)(6) (Supp.).

         We conditionally grant relief.

         Jurisdiction

         "The supreme court or a court of appeals may issue a writ of mandamus to compel the performance of any duty imposed by law in connection with the holding of an election or a political party convention, regardless of whether the person responsible for performing the duty is a public officer." Tex. Elec. Code Ann. § 273.061 (emphasis added). This court has mandamus jurisdiction to direct a party official to perform his duty correctly. See Escobar v. Sutherland, 917 S.W.2d 399, 411 (Tex. App. - El Paso 1996, orig. proceeding). Relator was not required to first seek relief in the district court. See In re Woodfill, 470 S.W.3d 473, 481 (Tex. 2015) (orig. proceeding).

         Mandamus Standard

         A writ of mandamus will issue to compel the performance of a ministerial act or duty. Walker v. Packer, 827 S.W.2d 833, 839 (Tex. 1992). An act is ministerial when the law clearly spells out a duty to be performed by a public official with such certainty that nothing is left to the official's discretion. Anderson v. City of Seven Points, 806 S.W.2d 791, 793 (Tex. 1992).

         The Texas Supreme Court has emphasized that the sections of the Election Code dealing with candidacy for political office are mandatory and are to be strictly enforced. Wallace v. Howell, 707 S.W.2d 876, 877 (Tex.1986) (orig. proceeding). Harris has a ministerial duty to declare Raska ineligible if presented with public records conclusively showing that he is ineligible. See Tex. Elec. Code Ann. §141.003(f) and (g) (Supp.). "The party chair's duty to determine whether an application for a place on the ballot complies with the statutory requirements is ministerial." In re Triantaphyllis, 68 S.W.3d 861, 869 (Tex. App. -Houston [14th Dist.] 2002, orig. proceeding).

         Analysis

         Under Section 141.001(a)(6) of the Election Code, a candidate for the office of County Commissioner for Precinct 3 must be a registered voter in that territory on the date of the December 9, 2019 deadline for filing his application for a place on the ballot. See Tex. Elec. Code Ann. §141.001(a)(6) (Supp.); In re Perez, 508 S.W.3d 500 (Tex. App.-El Paso 2016, orig. proceeding). Section 1.005(16) of the Election Code defines a "registered voter" as a person registered to vote in this state whose registration is effective. Tex. Elec. Code Ann. §1.005(16) (Supp.). Section 13.143(a) of the Election Code provides that a registration becomes effective on the 30th day after the date the application is submitted to the registrar. Tex. Elec. Code Ann. §13.143(a) (Supp.).

         Relator presented Harris with public records showing that Raska did not give notice of his change of address and register to vote in Precinct 3 until December 9, 2019. Raska's registration did not become effective until 30 days later, January 8, 2020. See Tex. Elec. Code Ann. §13.143(a). In In re Perez, 508 S.W.3d at 506-08, the El Paso Court of Appeals held, based on almost identical facts, that (1) "In the context of the office of El Paso County Commissioner, 'the territory from which the office is elected' necessarily refers to Precinct 3 rather than all of El Paso County" because the County Commissioner for Precinct 3 is elected by the qualified voters who are registered to vote in Precinct 3, and (2) "Quintanilla's voter registration was not effective until ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.