Maine's Secretary of State speaks out on Trump ballot ban

 December 30, 2023

Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows defended her decision to disqualify Donald Trump from the state's presidential primary ballot, asserting that she followed Maine's election law and upheld the U.S. Constitution.

Maine is the second state to bar Trump from the ballot under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, a move the Trump campaign intends to appeal.

The secretary speaks out

Unlike other states, Maine places the responsibility of initially assessing a candidate's qualification on the secretary of state rather than a court.

In an interview with CBS News, Bellows discussed her ruling, citing evidence that Trump was aware of efforts to delegitimize the 2020 election and chose to "light a match."

As a Democrat who assumed office in 2021, Bellows emphasized the importance of protecting the foundations of the government and the rule of law.

Maine's laws

Maine election law requires the secretary of state to respond to challenges promptly, and Bellows stated that she couldn't wait for the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene.

Under Maine law, voters can petition the secretary of state to challenge a candidate's qualifications, leading to a public hearing where the challengers present their case.

Bellows highlighted Maine's commitment to voting rights and its swift decision-making process. While acknowledging the pending appeal of the Colorado Supreme Court's decision, Bellows recognized the potential nullification of her ruling but stressed her responsibility to act.

Bellows, who took office in 2021, expressed pride in Maine's voting rights and its leading role in voter participation in 2022. She emphasized the unique statute in Maine that distinguishes it from other states, placing an obligation on her to issue a swift decision under state law. Despite the possibility that her decision could be nullified, Bellows maintained that she had a responsibility to act promptly.

The Trump campaign responds

The Trump campaign swiftly responded to Bellows' decision, with spokesman Steven Cheung declaring their intent to file a legal objection in state court to prevent the ruling from taking effect.

Cheung characterized the situation as witnessing the "attempted theft of an election" and alleged disenfranchisement of the American voter.

The appeal of the Colorado Supreme Court's decision, currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, holds broader implications for challenges to Trump's eligibility nationwide.

The decision's potential impact on similar cases underscores the complexity of the legal landscape surrounding Trump's qualifications and the ongoing debate over the events of January 6 and their consequences.

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