Primary Online Sources – Texas Election Law
Texas Constitution and Statutes – http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/
Texas Election Code – http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/?link=EL
Title 1, Part 4, Chapter 81, Texas Administrative Code – http://info.sos.state.tx.us/pls/pub/readtac$ext.ViewTAC?tac_view=4&ti=1&pt=4&ch=81
Selected Election Law Opinions issued by the Texas Secretary of State – http://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/elo/index.shtml
Texas Attorney General Opinions – https://www.oag.state.tx.us/opin/
Texas Court Opinions – The official portal to current Texas state court decisions, docketing information, etc., is http://www.courts.state.tx.us/ . Decision coverage is not consistent across the 14 appellate districts in Texas, but is getting better by leaps and bounds, as the state courts slowly and cautiously enter the 20th century.
The situation is both better and worse at the Federal level. It’s better in the sense that there is a huge amount of trial court material (pleadings, docket sheets, orders, decisions) online. It’s worse in the sense that one must bow to the ludicrously recondite bureaucracy of PACER, the database system built for Federal courts.
PACER has integrated with the Internet and the modern age with the same ease and finesse shown by Michael Douglas’ unhinged weapons engineer character ordering a fast-food breakfast in the movie “Falling Down,” which is to say … not well. The portal to the site is at www.pacer.gov.
To get the materials,you’ll have to register, and get your password and login ID about a week later in the mail. Yep, they MAIL you your password. There is a laughably embarrassing fee schedule, written by people who are still trying to find the “ANY” key on their computers. Merciful Zeus, it is a piece of work, although it’s sort-of free, assuming you don’t download more than $15.00 of stuff every three months. One thing PACER is adamant about: Our precious public documents must NEVER BE STOLEN AND THEN PUT UP ON THE INTERNET for non-PACER registrants to see, because that would just be awful. So stupid.
Free access to the online text of court opinions is, and has always been, harder to find online. This is particularly true of older opinions, for reasons that have been well articulated elsewhere. Despite the fact that court decisions are the law, and despite the fact that we are subject to the law, the publishing of court decisions has been so bound up in nakedly mercenary commercial interests that it is difficult for non-attorneys to gain access to (or make sense of) judicial sources. Nevertheless, there are some online resources other than expensive private legal databases. See: http://www.sll.state.tx.us/for-attorneys/legal-resources-online/
(Please note that some of the links provided by the State Law Library are old. For instance, Lexis no longer provides free case law through its discontinued “LexisOne” service).
Public Library of Law (requires free registration, includes Texas state cases back to 1997; cannot search cases by text) – http://www.plol.org
Two organizations that are trying to extend the availability of legal resources online, and that are deserving of your donations and support, are:
Legal Information Institute (LII) – http://www.law.cornell.edu
Public.Resource.org – http://public.resource.org
Secondary Sources and Links of Interest
Texas Redistricting and Election Law News – http://txredistricting.org/
Rick Hasan’s Election Law Blog (an excellent source of national election news from a distinguished election law scholar) – http://electionlawblog.org/
Harvey Kronberg’s Quorum Report (an essential source for Texas Capitol gossip and news) – http://www.quorumreport.com/