June 16, 2024 7:02 am

Trump blocked from Maine presidential ballot in 2024

Maine’s top election official has ruled that Donald Trump cannot run for president next year in the state, citing a constitutional insurrection clause.

Secretary of State Shenna Bellows said Mr Trump was not eligible because of his actions leading up to the US Capitol riot in 2021.

Maine now joins Colorado as the two states to ban Mr Trump from the ballot.

Both decisions are likely to face appeals in court.

The 34-page ruling says that Mr Trump, the Republican frontrunner, must be removed from the Maine ballot because of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution – which bans anyone from holding office that has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion”.

In her order, Mrs Bellows says that Mr Trump “over the course of several months and culminating on January 6, 2021, used a false narrative of election fraud to inflame his supporters and direct them to the Capitol”.

She added that his “occasional requests that rioters be peaceful and support law enforcement do not immunize his actions”.

“I do not reach this conclusion lightly,” Mrs Bellows wrote in her decision.

“I am mindful that no Secretary of State has ever deprived a presidential candidate of ballot access based on Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment.

“I am also mindful, however, that no presidential candidate has ever before engaged in insurrection.”

Mr Trump’s campaign had previously called for Mrs Bellows to recuse herself from the process, and on Thursday swiftly criticised her decision.

Campaign spokesman Steven Cheung called Mrs Bellows “a hyper-partisan Biden-supporting Democrat” and claimed she was engaging in “election interference”.

He added that the campaign will “quickly file a legal objection in state court to prevent this atrocious decision in Maine from taking effect”.

Mr Trump’s 2024 presidential candidacy has been challenged in multiple states, on the grounds that the 14th Amendment bans him from holding office.

But state courts in Michigan and Minnesota have also recently dismissed efforts to block Mr Trump from the ballot, setting up a showdown at the Supreme Court that will decide the issue for every state.

The 14th amendment was ratified after the American Civil War in order to block Confederate secessionists from returning to power after southern states re-joined the Union.

Colorado’s ban was the first instance of the Constitution being used to disqualify a presidential candidate.

But legal experts say the Colorado ruling will have a tough time standing up when, as expected, it reaches the conservative-leaning US Supreme Court.

The Rocky Mountain state is reliably Democrat, however, Maine is more competitive and would be more significant for Mr Trump to lose.

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