This is where you will find the latest news on our progress, as it occurs:
Feb 9, 2012:
• Using the Texas Public Information Act, Rick Rose (a citizen of Texas) submitted a request to the TXSoS, Hope Andrade, for all documents submitted to her office by the TDP, with respect to getting the names of their candidates printed on both the 2008* and 2012 Presidential Preference Primary ballots; and the 2008* General Election ballots.
* Under normal circumstances, according to the Public Records Retention Schedule, election-related documents must be maintained for 2 years and 1 day after the date the election. However, those same documents "whose retention period has expired may not be destroyed if any litigation, claim, negotiation, audit, public information request, administrative review, or other action involving the record is initiated; its destruction shall not occur until the completion of the action and the resolution of all issues that arise from it." Texas Administrative Code, Title 13.
Feb 10th, 2012:
• Rick Rose received a response to his request from the TXSoS, which only included the 2008 Certification of Nomination, and the accompanying cover letter sent from Boyd Richie to the TXSoS. However, as we expected, there was no supporting documentation of eligibility verification. In addition, there were no documents related to either the 2008 or the 2012 Presidential Preference Primary.
Feb 13, 2012:
• Rick replied back to the TXSoS, acknowledging receipt of the 2008 General Election documents, and repeating his original request for the documents for both the 2008 and 2012 Presidential preference primaries. Now he received the the 2008 Primary documents, but he still didn't get the 2012 Primary documents. • Kelly phoned the TXSoS Elections office, and asked whether they had the 2012 Primary documents. The office explained that due to the redistricting issues, the political parties have not yet been required to submit their Primary candidate list to their office. (Click here to view the entire package of emails & responses.) (Note from jbjd & Kelly: According to our Texas Election codes (§ 161.004), the ballot-related documents held by the TDP do not become 'public documents' under the pubic information laws, until they are entered in to the 'public stream' on receipt by the TXSoS, and the state party chairs are not functioning as 'public officials' until they provide the office of the TXSoS with the certified names of those candidates who they have determined satisfy the legal requirements to have their names printed on our ballots. For these reasons, the document retrieval phase of this project is temporarily on hold.)
Feb 16, 2012
• Kelly unveils the project to The Lone Star Tea Party /Arlington Tea Party, receiving a very favorable response, and gaining not only the attention of two currently sitting state legislators, but also an additional 22 people to our growing list of Texans, for this project! (More about this on the blog, http://kjc-tcb.blogspot.com/)
Feb 17/18, 2012
• The website gets a name change from "TexasBallotChallange.Homestead.com" to "TXBC.Homestead.com", for two reasons: the original name had a typo, and the address was too long.
Feb 29, 2012
• Kelly sends a Public Information request to the Elections office of the TXSoS, for all documentation regarding any policies and procedures utilized by the office of the Texas Secretary of State, so as to place the names of unaffiliated candidates on the ballot for the 2008, 2010, and 2012 elections. (Click here to view the request) • Kelly received a response from the TXSoS on March 7th (via postal mail), which turned out to be a half-inch thick package stuffed full of Independent (and write-in) blank candidate application forms, pertinent to all three election years requested, including all form instructions, blank petitions for signatures, declarations for candidacy, and related memorandums. Click here to view the entire package, as their response.
March 1, 2012
• March 2 though 9, 2012, is announced as the new filing period for all candidates or political parties to file their paperwork with the TXSoS.
March 12, 2012
• Kelly sends a Public Information request to the Elections office of the TXSoS, for all documentation that was submitted by both the Texas Democratic Party and Republican Party of Texas to the Secretary of State’s Election office, with respect to placing the names of their candidates on the Texas ballot for the 2012 Texas Presidential Preference Primary. (The request can be viewed here.) • Thursday, March 22, 2012, Kelly receives a response from the TXSoS. The response was an electronically generated spreadsheet for each party, listing the names of the candidates. Surprisingly, the responsive information (according to the TXSoS) was "reported by the state parties within an online system interface". The TDP file can be viewed HERE. The RPT file can be viewed HERE. (These are PDF files, which were originally sent to Kelly in EXCEL format. She produced the PDF files for those who do not have EXCEL installed on their computer. The original Excel files can be viewed here for the TDP, and here for the RPT.)
March 26, 2012
• Kelly sends out a final 'Request for Public Information' to the Chair of each of the political parties (TDP & RPT) asking that they send any and all documents which were the basis for their certification to the TXSoS that their candidates are qualified for the job. In this request, I cite the pertinent Texas Election Code, highlighting the awareness that this documentation is now considered "Public Information" (because they have already submitted the candidates' names to the TXSoS). I also reminded these Party Chairs that they can be compelled to produce these documents (if necessary), via a 'Writ of Mandamus'. I sent a copy of these requests to the TXSoS, Hope Andrade, along with a copy to the TXAG, Greg Abbott. I personally think that this is the BEST package of requests, leading up to our eventual complaint. You can view the entire request package HERE.
March 28, 2012
• Kelly receives a response (via email) from the TDP, answering our request with scanned copies attached of the applications for all four Democratic presidential candidates. Among the attachments, was the application submitted by Barack Obama. Click here to view the TDP's response.
March 30, 2012
• Kelly receives in the mail, the 'proof of receipt' with signatures for both the TDP and the RPT, as well as the TXSoS and TX Atty General. View the receipts HERE.
April 13th, 2012
April 15th, 2012
• Kelly sent a formal complaint (via email) to the Texas Attorney General's office citing a violation of the Texas Public Information Act by the RPT, and asked for the TXAG's assistance in retrieving the documents, under the rule of Mandamus, Texas Election Code § 161.009. Attachments to this complaint included the original letter to the RPT, along with proof of delivery receipt from the US Postal service. (To view the complaint with attachments, click HERE.)
April 18, 2012
• Kelly gets a call from Jesse Lewis, Executive Director of the Republican Party of Texas. (Read the whole story on jbjd's blog, in detail HERE) Basically, they DID respond to my request, it's just that they sent their response to the wrong email address! Kelly finally received what she asked for, and you can view the documents they sent HERE. Kelly immediately sent an email back to the TX AG, rescinding her complaint, and copied Mr. Lewis.
April 30, 2012:
• Bruce Fuller & Kelly Canon travel to Austin to meet with the TXSoS Director, Keith Ingram. Details of the whole story can be found HERE. This blog entry gives a detailed accounting of everything that happened leading up to and during the meeting, including jbjd's blog post on the actual meeting itself, entitled, "TEXAS, WE HAVE A PROBLEM."
May 9 & 10, 2012:
• Kelly meets with State Representative Diane Patrick, to get her take on our research. She was very impressed with what all we have accomplished, and gave some GREAT advice on what to do next! On her advice, Kelly contacted the Chair of the Elections Committee, Mr Larry Taylor, and requested to be placed on the agenda for the forthcoming Elections Committee hearings, to be scheduled some time in mid-July. A full accounting of that very interesting 24-hour period can be found in the "UPDATE #1" portion of that same blog post on Liberty-Linked. Basically, we are SET to testify before the Elections Committee! This is what we've been working so hard for! We're getting closer to our ultimate goal of "repairing" the election-related problems we've uncovered throughout our research over the past 6 months!
The best is yet to come... Stay tuned!!!
The laws are already there... Let's use them!