DALLAS (CN) — A Texas judge Monday dismissed the Dallas County Republican Party’s attempt to remove 82 Democratic candidates from the general election ballot in a lawsuit Democrats denounced as frivolous and partisan.
State District Judge Eric Moye, a Democrat, granted the Dallas County Democratic Party’s motion to dismiss with prejudice and a plea to the jurisdiction. Moye did not elaborate in his two-page order, merely saying that the Democrats’ arguments were “well taken.”
Moye will award costs and attorneys’ fees to the Democrats after May 7.
The Dallas County Republican Party and its Chairwoman Missy Shorey, sued the Dallas County Democratic Party and its Chairwoman Carol Donovan in Dallas County District Court in January. The Republicans claimed the blanket removal of the candidates was justified because Donovan allegedly failed to sign their candidate applications, leaving them uncertified under state law. They originally sought removal of 127 Democratic candidates, which shrank to 87 after the March primaries.
The Democrats argued successfully that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. They cited a January ruling by the Fifth Court of Appeals in Dallas that the matter became moot when absentee balloting began on Jan. 20. They also said the Texas Election Code does not have a signature requirement that the Republicans seek to impose.
“It simply requires that ‘each county chair shall electronically submit’ specified candidate information,” the motion to dismiss states. “There is no reference to a signature by anyone.”
Democrats applauded the dismissal Monday evening, criticizing the lawsuit as “baseless” and a Republican attempt at suppressing voter rights.
“We are delighted to have this matter behind us,” Donovan said in a statement. “This decision insures that democracy has been protected; Democrats will not be divided or distracted.”
The Republicans’ attorney Elizabeth Alvarez Bingham, of Dallas, said: “We will review the decision and decide on our next step.”
She criticized the “underlying tone” of the ruling as claiming that the Republicans’ position is that “some people do not feel the election code applies to them.”
“Here in Dallas, for at least a decade there has been a double standard between the parties,” Bingham told The Dallas Morning News. “Why have an election code when it can just be bent to the will of an activist judiciary that is clearly not objective?”