Activists’ Push to Block Trump From 2024 Ballot Stalls

Efforts by advocacy groups to prevent former President Donald Trump from appearing on the 2024 election ballots in various states have largely faltered, as officials hesitate to make such a move without judicial direction.

Michigan’s Secretary of State, Jocelyn Benson, who is a Democrat, informed Axios, “We don’t serve as eligibility enforcers. Our role is to make sure the basic criteria for ballot inclusion are satisfied.”

Campaigns in a minimum of eight states have been launched by different organizations, imploring electoral authorities to bar Trump. These groups refer to Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which prohibits anyone who has participated in a rebellion against the U.S. government from holding federal or state office.

State election overseers are wary of taking any unilateral steps to exclude Trump from the ballot, preferring to wait for a legal ruling that clarifies whether his actions leading up to January 6, 2021, render him ineligible, according to the media outlet.

One organization, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, initiated a legal case in Colorado with the aim of keeping Trump off the state’s 2024 ballot. Another group, Free Speech For People, has filed a similar lawsuit in Minnesota.

However, a parallel case in Florida was thrown out in August by a federal judge, who stated that the individuals who had filed the suit didn’t have the legal right to do so, as reported by the Palm Beach Post.

Free Speech For People has also submitted written requests to electoral officials in states like Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, and New Mexico, advocating for Trump’s exclusion from their respective ballots.

Many state election administrators are hesitant to address this highly contentious matter due to concerns about appearing biased. “If we morph into political players rather than impartial overseers of elections, we inadvertently contribute to the erosion of democracy,” Benson articulated.

According to Benson, her office should not be interpreting laws in a manner that could influence someone’s candidacy.

David Scanlan, the Republican Secretary of State for New Hampshire, mentioned at a press briefing that an independent decision by an election official without judicial backing could unleash “turmoil, bewilderment, and widespread dissatisfaction,” as reported by WMUR.

University of Maryland law professor Mark Graber indicated to Axios that courts have historically sidestepped complex political issues. He also speculated that if legal challenges do proceed, their outcomes may be fast-tracked.

The judge presiding over the Colorado lawsuit has stated an intention to make a ruling by Thanksgiving on whether Trump is disqualified under the 14th Amendment’s insurrection clause. “By the time the major party conventions roll around, it’s likely we’ll know if Trump is ineligible or not,” Graber commented.