Voting rights groups are calling for secretaries of state to ban Donald Trump from appearing on the ballot after he was indicted by the 1/6 grand jury.
The nonpartisan groups Free Speech For People and Mi Familia Vota Education Fund said in a joint statement provided to PoliticusUSA:
Free Speech For People (a national nonpartisan public interest legal advocacy organization that, in 2022, filed the first challenges, and conducted the first trial under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause in 150 years) and Mi Familia Vota Education Fund (a national civic engagement non-profit organization that unites Latino, immigrant, and allied communities to promote social and economic justice through citizenship workshops, voter registration, and voter participation), together welcome the U.S. Department of Justice’s detailed four-count criminal indictment of disgraced ex-president Donald Trump.
The allegations in this criminal indictment are entirely consistent with the Fourteenth Amendment’s Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause (Section 3) which says: “No person shall … hold any office, civil or military, under the United States … who, having previously taken an oath … as an officer of the United States … to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”
Although the Department of Justice did not specifically charge Trump under the criminal insurrection statute, both historical precedent and modern judicial decisions confirm that the Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause does not require prior conviction (or even charging) of a criminal offense; indeed, the vast majority of disqualified ex-Confederates were never charged with any crimes for their participation in that rebellion.
“These criminal charges will hold Trump accountable in the criminal justice system, but states don’t need any permission from federal prosecutors to move forward on excluding him from presidential ballots under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause,” says Ron Fein, Legal Director of Free Speech For People. “We call on secretaries of state and chief election officials to follow the mandate of Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment, use the power that Justice Gorsuch confirms they have, and refuse to list Trump on presidential ballots. And if they don’t, we’re ready to sue.”
“We know that Donald Trump believes he is above the law. In this country, no one is above the law. He must be held accountable for all his crimes, including the federal offenses related to his conspiracies to try to overturn the 2020 presidential election,” says Héctor Sánchez Barba, Executive Director and CEO of Mi Familia Vota. “We must continue to strengthen our democracy. That is why we are urging Secretaries of State and chief election officials across the country to carry out the mandate of Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment and bar Trump from the ballot.”
The States Could Bar Trump From The Ballot
Secretaries of state could use their power to bar Trump from the ballot. So far, they have been reluctant to do so. The voting rights groups may have to sue to even have a chance of getting Trump removed from the ballot in 2024.
Donald Trump has vowed that not even a criminal conviction will get him to quit the race. He will run for president as a convicted felon or from behind bars if necessary. Even prison won’t stop Trump from running.
Trump is not going to voluntarily leave the presidential race. He is going to have to be removed, and what the voting rights groups are proposing is a good way to provide an incentive to Republicans to search for another candidate and if they insist on sticking with Trump, they would do so with the full knowledge that there might be some states where he would not appear on the ballot in November.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association