Letters have been sent to secretaries of state and election officials in five states asking them to disqualify Donald Trump from the 2024 ballot.
Free Speech For People announced in a statement provided to PoliticusUSA:
Free Speech For People (FSFP) and Mi Familia Vota Education Fund (MFVEF) issued letters today to Secretaries of State and chief election officials in five states, urging them to abide by the US Constitution and bar former President Donald Trump from the ballot. According to Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment, also known as the Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause, by swearing an oath to uphold the Constitution and subsequently inciting and facilitating the violent January 6th attack on the Capitol, Trump is ineligible to run for office again.
Free Speech For People and Mi Familia Vota Education Fund sent letters to New Hampshire Secretary of State David Scanlan, New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, Florida Secretary of State Cord Byrd, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, and members of the Wisconsin Elections Commission. The organizations delivered a similar letter to chief election officials in 10 other states between April and July 2023 including Nevada, Oregon, California, Massachusetts, Colorado, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Georgia, and Pennsylvania.
Free Speech For People also forwarded to New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella its letter to New Hampshire Secretary of State David Scanlan. Secretary Scanlan recently asked the New Hampshire Attorney General to review the applicability of Section Three against Trump in the upcoming 2024 presidential election.
FSFP and MFVEF also argue that state election officials have the power to enforce the Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause without express permission from Congress. They note that nothing in the text, original public meaning, or the Reconstruction-era history of Section 3’s implementation suggests that states need authorization from Congress to implement this part of the Constitution. During Reconstruction, states repeatedly enforced Section 3 in exactly that circumstance, and two different states (Georgia and New Mexico) heard Section 3 challenges against those involved in the January 6th insurrection in 2022. These challenges did not need any special federal legislation, relying on standard state legal procedures for challenging a politician’s constitutional eligibility for office.
The Movement To Disqualify Trump From The Ballot Is Growing
A recent article by Professor Lawrence Tribe and Judge J. Michael Lutteg brought new attention to a moment that has been growing since the 1/6 attack. Constitutional scholar and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) argued that Trump is absolutely disqualified already from holding federal or state office.
The question is, will any election officials enforce the law?
Presidential elections are a series of 50 individual state elections, which are run by the states. The states have the power to determine who will be on the ballot. There is some question as to how the process would work. Would Trump’s presence on the ballot have to be challenged by a fellow candidate? Who has legal standing to challenge Trump’s presence on the ballot? Would there need to be legal challenges in every state, or could Trump be disqualified by the Supreme Court?
The United States has never been in this situation before, so the process will be new to everyone, but the letters that are going out to state officials are an active effort to get Trump kicked off of the ballot.