The Right to Challenge the Referendum Process In Texas

In Blum v. Lanier , court held that a qualified voter who signed an initiative petition has standing to challenge the form in which a referendum is put to the citizens. 997 S.W.2d at 262. Because he objected to the ballot description of the proposed charter amendment, we concluded that the voter could seek to enjoin the referendum election. Id. Court relied on our earlier decision in Glass v. Smith, 150 Tex. 632, 244 S.W.2d 645 (Tex. 1951), in which we affirmed a writ of mandamus requiring municipal authorities to hold a voter-initiated election after the requisite number of signatures were collected, concluding that the signers had a justiciable interest in their proposed ordinance being submitted to the people for a vote. 244 S.W.2d at 648. We extended that principle in Blum to give the complainant not merely an interest in the election being held, but also in having it validly conducted. 997 S.W.2d at 262, 264. Blum and Glass are narrow holdings, affording petition signers the right to challenge the referendum process but saying nothing about the right to protect the referendum results from subsequent changes. They are consistent with the judiciary's limited role in elections disputes, which provides a remedy to undo elections tainted by fraud, illegality, or other irregularity. Blum, 997 S.W.2d at 262; De Shazo v. Webb, 131 Tex. 108, 113 S.W.2d 519, 524 (Tex. 1938).