Activist group and voters push forward with Trump ballot removal petitions in Illinois and Massachusetts

 January 5, 2024

There seemed to be a growing consensus that states like Colorado and Maine had gone too far in removing former President Donald Trump from primary election ballots, but a group of voters in Illinois have now urged state election officials to do the same thing, local ABC affiliate WLS reported.

The five voters are led by an activist organization ironically named Free Speech for People, which is seeking to squelch the free speech and political choice of Trump's supporters with a petition filed Thursday with the Illinois Election Board that demands the former president and presumptive Republican nominee be barred from appearing on the state's primary election ballots.

Free Speech for People is leading a multi-state campaign that cites Section 3 of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution -- a Reconstruction-era amendment aimed at preventing former Confederate officers and politicians from holding public office if they engaged in an "insurrection or rebellion" after previously swearing an oath to uphold the Constitution.

Ballot removal petitions filed in Illinois and Massachusetts

In an 87-page filing, the Illinois voters and activist group argued that former President Trump's alleged incitement of and aid rendered to the "insurrection" that was the Jan. 6 Capitol riot of 2021 rendered him ineligible to appear on ballots or hold public office under the 14th Amendment.

"Donald J. Trump, through his words and actions, after swearing an oath as an officer of the United States to support the Constitution, engaged in insurrection or rebellion, or gave aid and comfort to its enemies, as defined by Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment," the petition stated, according to CNN.

The petition further asserted that Trump "has never expressed regret that his supporters violently attacked the U.S. Capitol" or threatened the lawmakers therein as well as that he "has not apologized to anyone, either on his own behalf or on behalf of his supporters, for the January 6 attack."

The outlet noted that the same Free Speech for People anti-Trump activist group filed a 91-page petition with the Massachusetts Ballot Law Commission that similarly called for the former president to be removed from the ballot for the commonwealth's upcoming primary election.

Trump has appealed Colorado and Maine rulings

Both of the filings in Illinois and Massachusetts cited as support the recent rulings in December from the Colorado Supreme Court and Maine Secretary of State that former President Trump was disqualified from holding office due to his role in the Jan. 6 "insurrection" at the Capitol building in 2021.

However, CNN reported that Trump's attorneys have already appealed the Colorado court's ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court and the Maine secretary's decision to that state's court system.

According to SCOTUSblog, Trump's appeal to the Supreme Court argued that Colorado's highest court had "no authority" to deny him his right to run for office and appear on the ballot and that, if permitted to stand, would be similarly "used as a template to disenfranchise tens of millions of voters nationwide" by denying them the right and ability to vote for the candidate of their choice.

Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said in a statement, "Crooked Joe Biden’s comrades, including the Colorado Supreme Court and CREW, a radical, left-wing activist group, are doing all they can to disenfranchise all American voters by attempting to remove President Trump, the leading candidate in the 2024 Presidential Election, from the primary ballot."

"Democrats are obsessively violating the American voters’ Constitutional right to vote for the candidate of their choice. This is an unAmerican, unconstitutional act of election interference which cannot stand," he added. "We urge a clear, summary rejection of the Colorado Supreme Court’s wrongful ruling and the execution of a free and fair election this November."

Illinois GOP condemns "anti-democracy attempt" to remove Trump from ballot

WLS reported that Illinois Republican Party Chairman Don Tracy said in a statement, "The Illinois Republican Party is strictly neutral in the Republican presidential primary. We believe the people, not activist courts, should choose who represents them in the White House."

"This attempt to remove President Trump from the ballot without due process is an anti-democracy attempt to limit the voting rights of Illinois citizens and should be dismissed outright," he added about the petition filed with the Illinois Election Board.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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