Former U.S. President Donald Trump prepares to deliver remarks

Former U.S. President Donald Trump prepares to deliver remarks at a Republican volunteer recruiting event on July 8, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

(Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

State Officials Told to 'Carry Out Their Duty' by Keeping Trump Off 2024 Ballot

The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution "is clear that anyone who takes an oath of office and then engages in insurrection is forever barred from holding public office again," said one campaigner.

As part of a campaign to keep former President Donald Trump from serving in public office again because he incited a deadly insurrection, a pair of advocacy groups on Wednesday sent letters to election officials in nine key states.

After responding to his 2020 loss with the "Big Lie" that the election was stolen, Trump is seeking the GOP presidential nomination for 2024—and is leading the polls. This, despite a section of the 14th Amendment barring from office anyone who has taken an oath to support the U.S. Constitution and then "engaged in insurrection or rebellion."

"The evidence is overwhelming that Donald Trump incited and mobilized the insurrection on January 6, 2021 at our nation's Capitol," said Alexandra Flores-Quilty, campaign director at Free Speech for People (FSFP). "The U.S. Constitution is clear that anyone who takes an oath of office and then engages in insurrection is forever barred from holding public office again. Election officials must carry out their duty, follow this constitutional mandate, and bar Trump from the ballot."

Echoing their April letter to Nevada Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar, FSFP and Mi Familia Vota Education Fund on Wednesday asked secretaries of state and election officials to exclude the twice-impeached former president from future ballots—and highlighted that the 14th Amendment "does not require that Congress, a court, or anyone else, adjudicate the question of Mr. Trump's ineligibility."

The new letters were sent to California Secretary of State Shirley Weber, Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Francis Galvin, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, New York State Board of Elections Co-Chairs Peter Kosinski and Douglas Kellner, Oregon Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade, Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt, and members of the North Carolina State Board of Elections.

"Secretaries of state and state election officials are well within their authority to bar former President Donald Trump from the ballot. We all know that Donald Trump incited an insurrection to stop the certification of the 2020 election," said Mi Familia Vota national programs manager Irving Zavaleta. "Trump is disqualified."

As Common Dreams reported last Friday, the groups' renewed calls for action from state election officials coincide with the 155th anniversary of the 14th Amendment's ratification. In addition to the letters, they have organized events in key states.

Since being voted out of office, Trump has faced two historic indictments: In April, the Manhattan district attorney charged him with 34 felony counts stemming from alleged hush money payments during the 2016 election cycle, and last month, Trump and his aide Walt Nauta were hit with dozens of federal charges in a classified documents case.

The latter is being led by Special Counsel Jack Smith, whom U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed last year after Trump launched his 2024 campaign. Smith is also responsible for investigating Trump's role in the insurrection—which could result in more charges.

"While the U.S. Justice Department, along with state and local authorities, must hold Donald Trump accountable for all crimes that he has committed, secretaries of state and chief election officials across the country must carry out their responsibility to follow the mandate of the Constitution and the insurrectionist disqualification clause and bar Trump from any future ballot," declared FSFP president John Bonifaz.

"Criminal prosecutions will establish Trump's liability under the law," Bonifaz added. "But the enforcement of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment against Trump will ensure that our republic is protected and that this insurrectionist-in-chief is forever disqualified from holding any future public office."

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