Battleground secretaries of state say they won’t unilaterally keep Trump off ballot

by Will Tubbs

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News


Beyond a sterling performance in Republican primary polls, good news has been hard to come by for former President Donald Trump. 

Thursday, though, Trump received the rare piece of good news to emerge from the ranks of Republican- and Democrat-led state governments when top election officials in four battleground states all refused to unilaterally go along with a leftist effort to have Trump disqualified from the ballot. 

The secretaries of state for Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, and New Hampshire all say it is beyond their authority to deny Trump access to the ballot based on accusations that he violated the 14th Amendment by leading an insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021.

Liberal advocacy groups have filed lawsuits in Minnesota and Colorado asking that Trump be prevented from running and are simultaneously pressuring secretaries of state to preemptively disqualify him. 

Agreement among the secretaries of state ends at a general concurrence that such a move would be beyond their remit. 

Georgia’s Brad Raffensperger, who famously angered Trump for not overturning the 2020 results in the Peach State, wrote an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal in which he warned that any effort to prevent a candidate from appearing on a ballot would call to question the entire American democratic system. 

“Since 2018, Georgia has seen losing candidates and their lawyers try to sue their way to victory. It doesn’t work,” Raffensperger wrote. “Stacey Abrams’s claims of election mismanagement following the 2018 election were rejected in court, as were Mr. Trump’s after the 2020 election.”

He added, “For a secretary of state to remove a candidate would only reinforce the grievances of those who see the system as rigged and corrupt. Denying voters the opportunity to choose is fundamentally un-American. Since our founding, Americans have believed that a government is just when it has earned the consent of the governed. Taking away the ability to choose—or object to—the eligibility of candidates eliminates that consent for slightly less than half of the country.”

Michigan’s Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat who serves in the same state as one of the more liberal governors in the nation, did not dismiss the notion of Trump being removed from the ballot, only that it was not within her power to do so without the direction of the highest court. 

“The appropriate forum for deciding whether a candidate qualifies to serve in office under the Constitution is the courts — and, in a case with national implications such as this one, the Supreme Court,” Benson wrote in an opinion piece for the Washington Post

Similarly, Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, a Democrat, has stated he will not act without court order.

New Hampshire Secretary of State David Scanlan, a Republican, has taken a neutral stance. 

“As long as he submits his declaration of candidacy and signs it under the penalty of perjury, pays the $1,000 filing fee, his name will appear on the presidential primary ballot,” Scanlan said earlier this week. 

In a rare occurrence on Truth Social, Trump has not specifically addressed the latest development in the multi-tiered saga that has become his push for a return to the White House. 

Thursday night, he posted simply (and in all caps), “The Democrats must stop interfering with our upcoming 2024 presidential election. The weaponization & cheating must stop. Make America great again!”


Thursday turned into quite the day for Trump, who also got a temporary reprieve in one of his ongoing court battles. 

A New York state appeals court judge temporarily froze the former president’s fraud lawsuit, the civil case brought against Trump by New York Attorney General Letitia James. 

The trial, slated for Oct. 2, was temporarily halted following a separate suit that Trump filed against both James and Justice Arthur Engoron, the man presiding over the case. 

Trump alleges Engoron and James have defied a court order to narrow the scope of the case. Appeals court Justice David Friedman issued an interim stay and referred the case to a five-person panel of judges who will determine the next steps, likely in late September.