The American Legion – Department of Texas

Boys State Manual

Political System of Boys State

Upon arrival at Boys State each citizen is assigned to one of two "fictional" political parties, which are the "Nationalists" and the "Federalists" at Texas Boys State. The entire program is non-partisan and problems considered are without reference to any existing political party and will be free from propaganda. The sole purpose is to enable the citizens of Boys State to grasp the meaning of some of the responsibilities to assume upon becoming an adult. Because of the time element and nature of the program, political party structure at Boys State, in some instances, differs from the realistic situation.

Each Boys State city has approximately 40-45 citizens and each city is as nearly balanced as possible between the two parties. All the citizens of the same political party within the city comprise a party precinct. From each two-party precinct seven of its citizens are chosen as voting delegates to the political party’s County Convention with one of the seven serving as the Precinct Chairman. (See the City-County-District Organization Diagram in this section.) At the County Convention, seven voting delegates, one of whom serves as the County Chairman, are chosen to represent the county at the Statewide Party Convention where state-level party business is conducted and committees, such as the Platform Committee and Rules Committee, are designated. State Convention Delegates elect a State Party Chairman, Party Whips, and other officials they deem necessary. Although voting delegates are elected to the County and State Conventions, all other party members attend the various party level meetings. Each Boys Stater seeking a party nomination for any elected city, county, district, or state office may obtain the filing form from his city counselor at the city orientation. The completed form with the necessary signatures will be submitted with the correct change filing fee to his precinct chairman prior to the deadline listed in the details of the Election Procedure in this section of the manual. The filing fee for State Offices is $1.00, District Offices is $.50, County and City are $.25. Remember: no changes will be made nor petitions accepted after the deadline.

Each candidate will be responsible for the correct completion of his filing form. Each office (see the section of "Boys State Elected Officials" area of the website for a complete list of offices) requires endorsing signatures as follows: State Offices – 30 names; District – 12; County – 8; and House/Senate – 4. These signatures may be obtained only from party members who are residents of the political sub-division served by the office. For example, a candidate for Governor may get signatures from any Boys Stater in his party whereas a candidate for District Judge may get signatures only from party residents of his district. The petitions will be checked and violations will disqualify the candidate. Each Boys Statesman may sign only as many petitions for an office as there are positions to be elected. For example: Sign only one petition for Attorney General but may sign four for County Commissioner.

Ballots will be prepared more rapidly if the candidate will use the proper identification numbers in the upper-right corner of the filing form. A space will be available for the candidate’s "Office Identification Number" and for the "Political Sub-division Number". The proper numbers can be found by referring to the sections on "Boys State Elected Officials" and the diagram of the "Boys State City County District Organization." For example: If a resident of Berry City seeks the office of District Judge, his "office number" would be 301 and his "political sub-division number" would be 40. All candidates for State Offices will use number 50 for the "political sub-division."

Following the Run-Off Primary Election, the party’s County and State chairmen may submit in writing the names of candidates to fill any vacancies for the General Election. The State Chairman may submit names for vacancies in State Offices, while the County Chairman may submit names for any vacancies on the county or district ballot. These additions to the ballot may be made only through the proper chairman and not from individual Boys Staters.

Each Precinct, County and State Chairman is responsible for certifying the ballots. Each should report the correctness or errors to Election Headquarters before deadline. Additions or corrections will not be made after the deadline. Each party has Party Advisors to aid in the development of the organization and to preside over the State Party Convention until a State Party Chairman is chosen by the delegates. County and District Advisors will aid the Party Advisor on their levels. Each participant should study the program schedule to keep pace with developments.

Campaign supplies (paint, paper, thumb tacks, etc.) provided by the Boys State Program to all candidates in the General Election campaigns. Campaign materials brought to Boys State are not to be used. Campaign materials can be obtained by both Party's Campaign Committees at Election Headquarters.

Election results are tabulated before observers by election officials under the supervision of staff members and posted as soon as possible. Official Results will be posted outside of Boys State Headquarters. Elected officials function in the positions following their inauguration and Oath of Office. (See Constitution Article VII).

Citizens seeking appointments to positions may make application with the elected officials who will administer the Oath of Office. Each citizen of Boys State should work towards the attainment of some office, either elective or appointive.

Time Limits for Speeches in the General Election

Associate Justices, Court of Criminal Appeals3 minutes

Presiding Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals3 minutes

Associates of Supreme Court3 minutes

Chief Justice Supreme Court3 minutes

Railroad Commissioner3 minutes

Commissioner of Agriculture3 minutes

Comptroller of Accounts3 minutes

Commissioner of Land Office3 minutes

Attorney General5 minutes

Lieutenant Governor5 minutes

Governor10 minutes

Boys State Elected Officials

Note: The number you see below is the Office Identification Number followed by the title of the Office to be held

I. Officials elected by the Cities

(Requires 4 qualified signatures from candidate’s city and party; filing fee is 25¢)

  • 101 Senate (1 place elected by each party in Primary)
  • 102 House of Representatives (4 places elected by each party in Primary)

II. Officials elected by each County

(Requires 8 qualified signatures from the candidate’s county and party; filing fee is 25¢)

  • 201 County Judge
  • 202 County Commissioners (4 places)
  • 203 County Attorney
  • 204 County Sheriff
  • 205 County Clerk
  • 206 Tax Assessor-Collector
  • 207 County Treasurer
  • 208 Justice of the Peace (4 places)
  • 209 Constable (4 places)
  • 210 County Surveyor
  • 211 County Court of Law Judge

III. Officials elected by each District

(Requires 12 qualified signatures from candidate’s district and party; filing fee is 50¢)

  • 301 District Judge
  • 302 District Attorney 
  • 303 District Clerk 
  • 304 Chief Justice, Court of Appeals
  • 305 Associate Justices, Court of Appeals (4 places) 
  • 306 State Board of Education

IV. Officials elected at the State level

(Requires 30 qualified signatures from candidate’s party; filing fee is $1.00)

  • 401 Governor
  • 402 Lieutenant Governor
  • 403 Attorney General
  • 404 Commissioner of Land Office
  • 405 Comptroller of Public Accounts
  • 406 Commissioner of Agriculture
  • 407 Railroad Commissioners (3 places)
  • 408 Chief Justice, Supreme Court
  • 409 Associate Justices, Supreme Court (8 places)
  • 410 Presiding Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals
  • 411 Associate Justices, Court of Criminal Appeals (8 places)

City-County-District Org Chart

Cities are named for former Ameircan Legion Department of Texas Commanders who are now deceased. Counties are named for other deceased former Department Commanders.

District are named for deceased past National Commanders from Texas; Alvin M. Owsley, Henry D. Lindsley and S. Perry Brown. Fred Young is a deceased past Department Adjutant of Texas.

Election Note: The number by each political sub-division (City, County, District) is the "political sub-division identification number" which must appear on the election form. For all State Offices use the number 50.

Details of Election Procedure

3:15 p.m. City Orientation for all Citizens of City

  1. Introduction of city members and counselors
  2. Orientation for city members on logistics of Boys State

6:45 p.m. City Orientation continues for all Citizens of City

  1. Senior Counselors Confirm roster of city members
  2. Review of Political and Election Procedures
  3. Citizens Conduct Election of City Administration
    • a. Counselor explains forms and duties of various City governments and officials.
    • b. Council/commission members may seek other elective or appointive offices.
    • c. Mayor presides at all City Meetings and is host for the City’s Visiting Dignitaries.
      1. Mayor may not seek another elective office but may seek any appointive or party offices
      2. Press Corps member may not seek another elective office but may seek any appointive or party offices
      3. Selection of Olympiad Director, Color Guard, Press Corps member and any other desired City Officials.
  4. Completion of Filing Forms and begin obtaining signatures
    • a. Distribution of blank Filing Forms
    • b. Explain the Completion of Filing Forms.
      1. All information on Forms to be printed, legibly.
      2. Use your full name.
      3. Use correct "Office Identification Number."
      4. Use correct "Political Sub-division Number."
      5. Ballots are prepared from "Office Identification Number"
    • c. Procedure for obtaining signatures for Filing Forms
      1. Must be of same party and resident of political subdivision of candidate
      2. Must not sign more forms than number to be elected
    • d.Forms will be voided if incorrectly completed

8:00 a.m. Special Election speeches (by Party)

  1. Speeches for House/Senate
  2. Candidates present completed filing form to Precinct Chairman at the next meeting once he is elected/selected.

8:45 a.m. Precinct Meeting Business/Agenda

  1. Elect Precinct Chairman who:
    • a. Presides at each Precinct Meeting and is a Voting Delegate to County Convention
    • b. Serves as Election Judge for Primary and General Elections
    • c. Appoints clerks to assist the Precinct Chairman in counting ballots
  2. Elect five additional Acting Delegates to County Convention
    • a. Distribute to Delegates a Ribbon and Credentials
  3. Select/Elect Precinct’s delegates to these State Party Committees:
    • a. Rules, Platform and Campaign Committees
  4. Precinct Chair to collect filing forms for House/Senate special election here

9:30 a.m. County Convention Business/Agenda

  1. Elect County Chairman who will:
    • a. Preside at County Conventions and be a Voting Delegate at State Party Convention
    • b. Serve as Co-Chairman of District Convention
    • c. Fill vacancies to County and District General Election Ballots and Submit Necessary Correction Forms to add Candidates to General Election Ballot
  2. Elect seven additional Voting Delegates to State Convention
    • a. Distribute to Delegates a Ribbon and Credentials

10:30 a.m. State Party Convention Business/Agenda

  • Introduction to Party Politics
  • Party Advisor or appointee will explain duties of each party officer

10:30 a.m. Rules Committee Orientation

11:15 a.m. Precinct & County Chairmen Meeting

  • Complete training on roles and responsibilities for Special Election

12:00 p.m. Special Election Polls Open

1:00 p.m. State Party Convention Agenda (All Party Members)

  • Continue State Party business
  1. The Party Chairman is elected by Party Delegates at Large
    • a. State Chairman may not seek another elective office but may seek any appointed office.
    • b. Secretary and Whip (3) may seek any elective or appointive office.
  2. State Chairman will appoint the Chairman of each of the State Party Committees.
    • a. Rules, Platform, and Campaign Committees; Reports by Rules & Platform Committees.
    • b. Members of the committees were elected by each Precinct.
  3. Allow any time after elections for delegates to obtain signatures on Filing Forms.

6:00 p.m.  Special Election Polls Close

10:45 p.m. Filing Deadline (or as amended by staff)

  1. Precinct Chairman are responsible for collecting all Fees and Forms and personally delivering them to the Election Headquarters.  They will be dismissed from their State Party convention at the appropriate time to deliver the information by their counselor or may appoint an assistant to do so if disposed with party business.
     
  2. No Filing Forms will be accepted after the Deadline.

8:00 a.m. House and Senate Orientation and Formation of duties

  1. Swearing in of all members
  2. Election of all officers
  3. Formation of Committees
  4. Begin drafting legislation

8:00 a.m. State Party Convention Agenda

  1. Report by Party Rules Committee
  2. Debate and adopt Rules Committee Report
  3. Speeches for State Officials other than Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General.

1:00 p.m. County Party Convention Agenda

  • Speeches for County Offices; County Chairman presides

1:45 p.m. District Party Convention Agenda

  • Speeches for District Offices; County Chairmen co-preside

2:30 p.m. State Party Convention Agenda

  • Speeches for Attorney General, Lt. Governor & Governor

6:45 p.m. Deadline For Ballot Corrections

  1. Additions must be submitted in writing by the State/County Chairmen.
    • a. State Chairman fills any vacancies on State Ballot.
    • b. County Chairman fills any vacancies on County Ballot.
    • c. County Chairmen within a District jointly fill vacancies on the District Ballot.
  2. Additions may not be a person already on ballot for another position.
  3. No additions may be made after the deadline

8:00 p.m. Precinct Chairmen Report To the location of the Election

  • Sign up for shift for overseeing primary election.

8:00 p.m. Primary Election Polls Open

  • Citizens will vote during posted hours only.
  • Precinct Chairman will preside at Election and explain procedures

8:00 p.m. Platform and Campaign Committees Meet

8:00 p.m.  House and Senate Committee Sessions

9:45 p.m. Primary Election Polls Close

8:00 a.m. Deadline for Corrections to Runoff Election Ballot

8:00 a.m. House and Senate in Session

8:15 a.m. County Party Convention Agenda

  • Runoff speeches for County Offices; County Chairman presides

9:00 a.m. District Party Convention Agenda

  • Runoff speeches for County Offices; County Chairmen co-preside

9:45 a.m. State Party Convention Agenda

  1. Approve State Party Platform
  2. Speeches by Run-off Candidates

11:45 a.m. Precinct Chairmen Report to Elections Location

12:00 p.m. Run-Off Election Polls Open

1:30 p.m. Run-Off Election Polls Close

1:30 p.m. House & Senate Convene

1:30 p.m. County Party Convention Agenda

  • General Election speeches for County Offices; County Charimen from each party preside

2:30 p.m. District Party Convention Agenda

  • General Election speeches for District Offices; County Charimen from each party co-preside

6:45 p.m. Deadline for Additions to General Election Ballot

  1. Additions must be submitted in writing by the State/County Chairmen.
    • a. State Chairman fills any vacancies on State Ballot.
    • b. County Chairman fills any vacancies on County Ballot.
    • c. County Chairmen within a District jointly fill vacancies on the District Ballot.
  2. Additions may not be a person already on ballot for another position.
  3. No additions may be made after the deadline

8:00 p.m. House and Senate Committee Sessions

1:30 p.m. District Party Convention Agenda

  • General Election speeches for State Offices; County Charimen (all 4) co-preside and State Party office candidates from the ballot rotate into the various meetings as scheduled by the Counselors

2:30 p.m. District Party Convention Agenda

  • State Party office candidates are rotated among teh various sites to give speeches

3:30 p.m. District Party Convention Agenda

  • State Party office candidates are rotated among teh various sites to give speeches

4:30 p.m. State Party Convention Agenda

  • State Party office candidates are rotated among teh various sites to give speeches

5:45 p.m. General Election Polls Open

  • Citizens will vote during posted hours only

  • Precinct Chairman will preside at Election and explain procedures

9:00 p.m. General Election Polls Close

Seeking Office Issues

Issues to consider in seeking office at Texas Boys State

City
  • Some citizens in your city want to use traffic cameras while others think they are an invasion of privacy. What is your position?
  • Your city is in the middle of a drought and facing water shortages. What solution would you propose?
  • Last session your city had a referendum to become a sanctuary city, but the measure failed by a slim margin. How do you propose to either A) get a similar measure passed this year or B) try to prevent your city from becoming a sanctuary for illegal immigration?
  • Your city is widely known as a "speed trap". Are you proud of this reputation?
  • Your city is now "dry". Do you favor or oppose legalizing the sale of alcohol in your city?
  • Some of your city’s schools need major repairs. Unfortunately, the largest employer in your town went out of business and the town is suffering from a very high unemployment rate. What solution do you propose?
  • What issues face your hometown and what do you think should be done?
County/District
  • The county courthouse was built in 1880. When a monument on the courthouse property was erected in 1920 to honor your county’s fallen soldiers in World War I, it included a verse from the New Testament. There is a petition in your city to have either the monument or the verse removed. What is your position?
  • Your county sheriff has rounded up a lot of illegal immigrants and now the jail is crowded. The federal authorities refuse to take custody of the illegal immigrants. What solution would you propose?
  • A massive wildfire damaged or destroyed a large amount of private and public property. The Federal government has refused to allocate any funds. What solution would you propose?
  • A county official is the target of a Federal corruption investigation. What steps do you propose your county take to insure official honesty in the future?
  • An investment group wants to build a horse track on county lands for gambling purposes. What is your position?
  • The county will have a surplus of tax funds from the past fiscal cycle. How would you approach this surplus?
  • The State Board of Education is mandating the teaching of certain items based on political and religious beliefs. What do you believe is the role of the State Board of Education?
  • What issues/problems is your home county facing? How do you think these issues should be handled?
State
  • Should Texas recognize other forms of marriage other than that between one man and one woman?
  • Some Texas schools do not educate students well. What solution would you propose?
  • The funding of Texas Schools has been declared unconstitutional? What solutions are there to appropriately and fairly fund Texas schools?
  • Mexican drug cartels have shown a willingness to commit violence on Texas soil. What would you propose the state government do to keep citizens safe?
  • Texas’ population has doubled in less than a generation, putting a strain on our supply of fresh water. Recent droughts have shown that our lakes cannot meet the demand in extreme circumstances. How would you suggest the state address our fresh water supply?
  • International institutions and the Federal Government are pressuring States to review their laws governing the sales of firearms in stores, at gun shows, and from person to person? What is your position on this issue?
  • Texas requires students to pass the STAAR Test to be promoted from certain grades. How do you see this affecting Texas schools? What would you propose regarding accountability of schools and students?
  • Texas is considering legalizing gambling that would allow casinos to be built. What is your position? What restrictions or guidelines would you recommend?
  • What are other Statewide issues that have affected you or your community? What is your position on these issues?