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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:On Dec. 28, 2005 � ive days before the Jan. 2 filing deadline � elator Charles Holcomb, currently Judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 8, filed his application and an accompanying petition as a candidate for re-election. The petition was required to contain at least 50 signatures of eligible voters from each of the state’s 14 appellate districts. At issue in this proceeding is the portion of Holcomb’s petition purporting to contain 54 signatures from the 13th Court of Appeals district in South Texas. The record reflects that these signatures were gathered by two different circulators on Holcomb’s behalf, who circulated petitions at two different meetings, in two different locations, on two different days. Unbeknownst to either circulator or to Holcomb, some people attended both meetings, and nine signed his petition twice. A facial review of the petition would have disclosed the duplications. The day after Holcomb submitted his application and petition to the Republican state chairman, a party representative reviewed the application as required by law, accepted it, and listed Holcomb as a candidate on the party’s Web site. Four days later, and 30 minutes before the filing deadline, an attorney for another candidate notified party officials about the duplications. Five days after that, on Sat., Jan. 7, 2006, a party representative notified Holcomb that his application was defective and he would not be listed as a candidate. On Jan. 11, 2006, Holcomb filed an application for injunctive relief seeking an opportunity to correct the error in his petition. His opponent intervened, and after an evidentiary hearing, the trial court denied Holcomb’s request. After unsuccessfully seeking relief in the 3rd Court of Appeals, Holcomb filed for mandamus relief in this court. HOLDING:Conditionally granted. Consistent with In Re: Francis, ___ S.W.3d ___ (Tex. 2006), the court holds a petition containing duplicate signatures is invalid, but the Election Code does not mandate that the candidate therefore be punished by exclusion from the ballot. If a candidate’s filings contain facial errors that can easily be cured, the code requires the state chairman to reject the petition and notify the candidate of the defects. If the state chairman fails to do so, candidates should have the same opportunity to cure as they would have had before the deadline passed. At the trial court and on appeal, Holcomb alleged that he could have obtained five more valid signatures from South Texas in the four days after his petition was accepted if he had been told he needed to do so. Neither the Republican Party of Texas nor Holcomb’s opponent dispute that fact. The court holds the trial court erred by not requiring the state chairman to grant Holcomb the same opportunity to cure he would have had if the party’s review had notified him of the facial defect in his petition. OPINION:Brister, J.; Jefferson, CJ, Hecht, Medina and Green, JJ., join. DISSENT:Wainwright, J.; O’Neill and Johnson, JJ., join. “For the reasons expressed today in my dissenting opinion in In re Francis, ___ S.W.3d ___, I respectfully dissent from the Court’s opinion in this case.”

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