Maine secretary of state denies politics played role in decision to kick Trump off ballot

Posted 55 days ago


The Maine election official who disqualified former President Trump from the state's presidential primary ballot said on Monday that politics did not influence her decision.

Last week, Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, a Democrat, ruled that Trump was barred from running for president in her state because he allegedly "engaged in insurrection" through his actions leading up to and during the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the U. S. Capitol.

"Politics and my personal views played no role," Bellows told NPR in an interview. "I swore an oath to uphold the Constitution and that is what I did."

Her controversial decision followed a similar ruling by Colorado's state Supreme Court that cited Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which bars candidates who have "engaged in insurrection or rebellion" against the United States from holding federal elected office.

The Trump campaign had derided both decisions and called Bellows "a virulent leftist and a hyper-partisan Biden-supporting Democrat," accusing her of election interference on behalf of President Biden.

However, the Maine election chief explained said she was required to issue a decision after registered voters challenged Trump's qualification for the ballot.

"Under Maine law, when I qualified Mr. Trump for the ballot, any registered voter had the right to challenge that qualification," Bellows told "All Things Considered" host Scott Detrow. "Five voters did so, including two former Republican state senators. And then I was required under the statute, under the law, to hold a hearing and issue a decision, and do so within a very compressed timeline. So this wasn't something I initiated, but it's something that's required under Maine election law."

Bellows said she "carefully" reviewed evidence presented at a hearing that the violence on Jan. 6 "occurred at the behest of, and with the knowledge and support of, the outgoing president."

She called the riot "tragic" and an "attack not only upon the capital and government officials, but also an attack on the rule of law, on the peaceful transfer of power."... (Read more)