Tick-tock. Tick-tock. As Mickey's big hand slips past the twelve, in Texas his little hand is firmly rooted on the five. September 3 may seem like just any other day in September to most Texans, but, to the Secretary of State it has special significance. 5:00 pm today, 62 days prior to the general election, is the deadline for the Secretary to certify the names to appear on the ballots.
As the Secretary certifies the ballot, I imagine Governor Sarah Palin will be getting ready for her big speech tonight, formally accepting the Republican Party nomination as their vice-presidential candidate. It will be a big speech for her; she has to prove to the nay-sayers that she is the right woman for the job. She's been beset in recent days from all sides with attacks and accusations, both personal and professional, leaving some pundits asking about the “Eagleton Scenario”.
Josh Green, of The Atlantic, detailed the “Eagleton Scenario” yesterday, noting that, “interviews with Republicans and legal experts today shed light on how the process could play out. At any point before tomorrow night, McCain could simply replace Palin. But once she formally accepts her nomination, he’ll no longer have the power to do so unilaterally.” After that, the Republican National Committee must approve any substitution to the ticket.
Back in Texas, I imagine some voters will wonder how a candidate who has not accepted her party's nomination, and is subject to unilateral recall any time until she does, could be certified by their Secretary of State to be on the ballot.
Last week, the Libertarian Party put out a press release noting the failure of the Republicans and Democrats to make the required filings by the August 26 deadline for President and Vice-President in Texas. This contention was initially confirmed by the Secretary's Election Division, but later retracted. “After further checking” they said, both the Republicans and Democrats had “filed something” with the Secretary of State, and they expected amended filings after the conventions.
The presser wasn't widely disseminated, but where it was there were plenty of comments decrying the idea that Obama/Biden and McCain/whoever would not appear on the Texas ballot. Certainly, they wailed, the portion of Texas election law that deals with Presidential and Vice-Presidential elections applies only to independents and third parties. This, they said, was an errant release by an idiot who had not read Texas election law.
As an idiot who has read Texas election law, I asked two simple and, as-yet, unanswered questions: what section of Texas election law does describe the deadline for Republicans and Democrats and what is their deadline? Is it November 3? November 5? January 19? The Texas Secretary of State (apparently another errant idiot who has not read Texas election law) thought it was August 26, also, stating only that “case law” provided for amended filings after the deadline.
Now, since Obama didn't win the Texas primary (more delegates but less votes), and neither he nor Senator Joe Biden had been officially nominated through their conventions as of the August 26 deadline, they are relying on case law to file amended certifications. As to the Republicans, though, for Gov Palin to appear on the ballot, either the state chair or the Secretary of State had to have committed perjury as of 5:00 pm Texas time.
Will anyone care? Mayhap the Barr campaign, although they've been notably silent on the issue since the initial release on August 27. Obama would love 34 electoral votes to go to Barr under a strict interpretation but, per the Secretary, McCain would appear on the ballot with “running mate” while Obama wouldn't be on the ballot at all. “Texans” won't get standing in a court...