Maine: Top election official blocks Trump from 2024 ballot

Maine has become the second state to determine that Donald Trump was not an eligible presidential candidate for 2024 over his attempts to overturn the 2020 election

The US Supreme Court has never ruled on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which bans from office those who “engaged in insurrection" (photo: DW)
The US Supreme Court has never ruled on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which bans from office those who “engaged in insurrection" (photo: DW)


Maine's top election official ruled Thursday, 28 December that former President Donald Trump would be removed from the state's presidential primary ballot next year.

Maine becomes the second state to determine that the former president is ineligible for running for office over his attempts to overturn the 2020 election.

The decision by the Secretary of State of Maine, Shenna Bellows, follows a Colorado Supreme Court ruling earlier this month that disqualified Trump from the state's ballot.

The Colorado Supreme Court ruling was deemed extraordinary because it was the first time that Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution was applied to disqualify a former president. 

That decision has not been enforced and has been stayed until the US Supreme Court decides whether Trump is barred under the amendment, which prohibits those who "engaged in insurrection" from holding office.

The section was written after the Civil War to prevent former Confederate officers from returning to government.

Trump campaign slams Maine ruling

The decision by Bellows, a Democrat, is the first by an election official to unilaterally disqualify the former president.

The Trump campaign immediately slammed the ruling, with campaign spokesman Steven Cheung saying in a statement that, "We are witnessing, in real-time, the attempted theft of an election and the disenfranchisement of the American voter."

The Trump campaign said it would appeal Bellows' decision to Maine's state court system, and it is likely that the nation’s highest court will have the final say on whether Trump appears on the ballot there and in the other states.

Did not 'reach conclusion lightly,' says Bellows

Bellows found that Trump could no longer run for office because of his role in the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, saying she did not "reach this conclusion lightly."

In her 34-page decision, Bellows wrote that: "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." 

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