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Texas GOP rejects ballot question asking if state should secede

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A Texas secessionist group plans to sue the state GOP for rejecting a ballot measure asking if Texas should leave the U.S.

The Texas Nationalist Movement claims it collected the necessary signatures required to add the “TEXIT” question – asking “The State of Texas should reassert its status as an independent nation. For or against” – to the primary ballot. Under state law, the minimum number of signatures “that must appear on the petition is five percent of the total vote received by all candidates for governor in the party's most recent gubernatorial general primary election.”

But state party leaders say the group submitted the signatures after the Dec. 10 deadline, and that most of the signatures were invalid.

Texas GOP chairman Matt Rinaldi wrote in an open letter that only about 8,300 of the purported 139,000 signatures the Texas Nationalist Movement collected were in the petition signer’s own handwriting, and the rest electronically submitted.

“For these reasons, the voter petitions delivered by the Texas Nationalist Movement on December 11 are rejected as untimely and, even if they had been timely submitted, do not contain the required 97,709 valid signatures to place a matter on the 2024 Republican Primary ballot,” Rinaldi wrote.

But the TNM disputes the party’s claims.

“It is clear that the Republican Party of Texas is grasping for any tactic, no matter how ridiculous, to suppress the voices of Republican voters,” Daniel Miller, president of the Texas Nationalist Movement, wrote in a statement.

“The assertion that electronic signatures are invalid is contrary to the law passed by the 80th Legislature that clearly states, ‘If a law requires a signature, an electronic signature satisfies the law,’” Miller continued. “This statute does not countenance any exceptions to any part of the law and does not allow for any exceptions.”

The Texas Nationalist Movement plans to take legal action as soon as Friday, according to its response.

The Texas Republican Party this week released the propositions that will be on the primary ballot next year. The 13 measures include whether Texas should create a border protection unit and whether the party should have closed primaries.

The state Republican primaries will take place on March 5.

Juan Salinas II is a KERA news intern. Got a tip? Email Juan at jsalinas@kera.org. You can follow Juan on X @4nsmiley

Copyright 2023 KERA. To see more, visit KERA.

Juan Salinas II