Maine Secretary of State Disqualifies Trump from State Primary Ballot

Maine’s Secretary of State, Shenna Bellows, ruled on Thursday that former President Trump is ineligible to appear on the state’s primary ballot under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment due to his involvement in the January 6, 2021, Capitol assault. Bellows, a Democrat, emphasized the constitutional imperative to safeguard the government’s foundations, citing her obligation under Maine law to issue a swift decision based on evidence presented during a hearing. However, she suspended the decision’s effect pending a potential appeal to the Superior Court or the expiration of the appeal timeframe.

Bellows highlighted Trump’s awareness of the efforts to delegitimize the 2020 election and his subsequent actions as contributing factors. The ruling allows for an appeal within five days, with Bellows emphasizing the importance of court guidance before ballot preparation proceeds. This decision marks the first instance of a state official unilaterally disqualifying a presidential candidate based on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

Trump’s campaign intends to appeal, denouncing the decision as an attempt to disenfranchise voters and an “attempted theft of an election.” Prior to the ruling, Trump’s legal team had requested Bellows to disqualify herself, alleging personal bias. This decision in Maine follows a similar ruling in Colorado, where Trump’s disqualification from the ballot is being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Notably, this move by Bellows has sparked controversy, drawing criticism from Republican Senator Susan Collins, who emphasized the importance of voters deciding the election outcome. Several other states are contemplating challenges to bar Trump from their ballots, with varying rulings in different state courts, demonstrating the complex legal landscape surrounding Trump’s candidacy in the upcoming primaries.

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