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Longview voters might toughen candidate requirements

By Richard Yeakley
April 24, 2013 at 10 p.m.

Longview voters will decide May 11 whether to charge a filing fee to run for office and if residency requirements will be toughened.

Propositions 2 and 3 on the city of Longview ballot, if approved, would require a $100 filing fee or a petition with 25 signatures to file for office and would increase residency requirements for candidates from six months to a year.

Both propositions came out of the City Council, not a petition from Longview residents. At the time the requirements were suggested, Mayor Jay Dean said requiring such conditions would encourage only serious candidates to file for office.

In Longview's mayoral race in 2012, Dean was challenged by a candidate who is believed to have moved from Longview shortly before the election. The city then held a citywide election for office.

Branden Johnson, president of the Longview chapter of the NAACP, said the organization opposes the requirements.

"Speaking for the NAACP and me personally, we absolutely and unequivocally are in opposition of that proposal," he said at the council meeting in February.

He said the requirements might disenfranchise some potential participants in the political system.

Similar requirements have been implemented across the state; however, if approved, the filing fee would be one of the first in East Texas.

Each proposition is considered individually, so voters could approve the extended residency requirement but not the filing fee, approve the fee but not the residency requirements, accept both or approve neither.



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