Friday, December 29, 2023

Maine Secretary of State Removes Trump From 2024 Ballot

Maine Secretary of State Removes Trump From 2024 Ballot 

Maine’s top election official has removed former President Donald Trump from the state’s 2024 primary ballot based on an interpretation of the 14th Amendment.

Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, whose office oversees elections in the state, announced the decision on Thursday, contending that an individual who has supported or engaged in insurrection is ineligible to serve in the highest office.

“I conclude that Mr. Trump’s primary petition is invalid,” Ms. Belows wrote in her ruling. “Specifically, I find that the declaration on his candidate consent form is false because he is not qualified to hold the office of the President under Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment.”
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Mr. Cheung noted that state and federal courts in Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Arizona, Florida, Rhode Island, and West Virginia, along with 10 more federal jurisdictions, have rejected “these bad-faith, bogus 14th Amendment ballot challenges.”

“We know both the Constitution and the American people are on our side in this fight. President Trump’s dominating campaign has a commanding lead in the polls that has dramatically expanded as Crooked Joe Biden’s presidency continues to fail,” the Trump campaign spokesperson added.

“We will quickly file a legal objection in state court to prevent this atrocious decision in Maine from taking effect, and President Trump will never stop fighting to Make America Great Again.”

Jason Meister, a member of President Trump’s campaign advisory panel in New York, told The Epoch Times that the Maine action would fail. “These 14th amendment challenges are last gasping breaths of a dying party,” he said.

GOP Candidates Condemn Decision

Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, a contender for the Republican presidential nomination, condemned the decision as a “threat to democracy.”

“This is what an *actual* threat to democracy looks like. The system is hellbent on taking this man out, the Constitution be damned,” Mr. Ramaswamy wrote on X, formerly Twitter, after the news broke.

“I stand by my prior pledge to *withdraw* from any state’s ballot that ultimately removes Trump from its ballot. I call on DeSantis, Christie, and Haley to do the same—or else they are tacitly endorsing this illegal and brazen election interference in the GOP primary. This cancer in American politics isn’t limited to the Democrats.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, another of President Trump’s opponents for the Republican presidential nomination, expressed strong concerns over the potential constitutional implications of the decision during an interview on Fox News.

Mr. DeSantis denounced the notion that “one bureaucrat in an executive position can simply unilaterally disqualify someone from office” as turning on its head “every notion of constitutional due process that this country has always abided by for over 200 years.”

Furthermore, he charged that it “opens up Pandora’s Box.”

“Can you have a Republican Secretary of State disqualify Biden from the ballot?” Mr. DeSantis said. “Because he’s let in 8 million people illegally, a massive invasion, including from enemies of our country—places like Iran, China, Middle East, have poured in with his knowledge and assent basically.”

A spokesperson for former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said: “Nikki will beat Trump fair and square. It should be up to voters to decide who gets elected.”

The campaign of former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie reiterated his criticism of the Colorado Supreme Court ruling, saying that President Trump shouldn’t be excluded from the ballot without a trial and conviction.

Maine Members of Congress React

Maine Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican, decried the secretary of state’s decision.

“Maine voters should decide who wins the election—not a Secretary of State chosen by the Legislature,” Ms. Collins wrote on X.

“The Secretary of State’s decision would deny thousands of Mainers the opportunity to vote for the candidate of their choice, and it should be overturned.”

Adding his voice to the Republican chorus, Maine Rep. Jared Golden, a Democrat, said President Trump should be allowed on the ballot until he is found guilty of insurrection.

“I voted to impeach Donald Trump for his role in the January 6th insurrection,” Mr. Golden said in a statement on X.

“I do not believe he should be re-elected as President of the United States. However, we are a nation of laws, therefore until he is actually found guilty of the crime of insurrection, he should be allowed on the ballot.”

Colorado Keeps Trump on Ballot for Now

Earlier on Thursday, the Colorado secretary of state’s office said it would include President Trump on the state’s 2024 primary ballot when certification occurs on Jan. 5, 2024, “unless the U.S. Supreme Court declines to take the case or otherwise affirms the Colorado Supreme Court ruling.”

This comes after the state’s highest court ruled President Trump ineligible under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, barring individuals engaged in “insurrection” or “rebellion” from returning to office without a two-thirds vote from Congress.

The Colorado Supreme Court had stayed its own Dec. 19 decision until Jan. 4, 2024, or until the completion of a U.S. Supreme Court appeal.

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold noted that she supports the disqualification of President Trump from the ballot, saying, “The Colorado Supreme Court got it right,” and urging the U.S. Supreme Court to “act quickly, given the upcoming presidential primary election.”

Activists argue that the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol breach constitutes an insurrection, sparking debates among legal experts about applying a Civil War-era statute to assess President Trump’s eligibility to hold office.

Lawsuits in about half the states have been mostly dismissed by federal and state judges on procedural and jurisdictional grounds, with reasons including the argument that primaries and party functions are outside state lawmakers’ purview, and the rejection of a state-by-state definition of “insurrection” under the 14th Amendment.

Janice Hisle and Catherine Yang contributed to this report.

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