Raffensperger pushes back on argument officials should remove Trump from state ballots

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) is pushing back on the argument that election officials should remove former President Trump from the ballots in their states for violating the 14th Amendment. 

“Invoking the 14th Amendment is merely the newest way of attempting to short-circuit the ballot box,” Raffensperger wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed Wednesday. “Since 2018, Georgia has seen losing candidates and their lawyers try to sue their way to victory. It doesn’t work. 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 argued that it “would only reinforce the grievances of those who see the system as rigged and corrupt” if secretaries of state take Trump off the ballot. He said the decision of whether Trump will be the GOP nominee or the next president should be left up to the voters, saying anything else that denies voters the choice would “erode the belief in our uniquely American representative democracy.”

“The 2024 election won’t be decided by prosecutors,” he wrote. “It won’t be decided by John Eastman. And it won’t be decided by the vice president, whose role is simply to oversee a joint session of Congress in which each state’s electors are counted.”

A handful of legal scholars, Democrats and GOP presidential hopefuls have floated the argument that Trump may be disqualified from serving as president due to actions he allegedly took to remain in power after leaving the White House. Section 3 of the 14th Amendment states that anyone who has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof” should be disqualified from holding office.

A Washington D.C.-based watchdog group has filed a lawsuit Wednesday aiming to block Trump from the 2024 ballot in Colorado, arguing he is disqualified under the 14th Amendment for his alleged actions. Other activists are pushing to disqualify Trump from the ballot in key states under the same amendment.

Raffensperger echoed similar arguments that the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board published Monday, which said disqualifying Trump from the ballot could violate the due process protections in the Constitution and “deny voters the constitutional right to vote for the candidate of their choice.”

Trump has maintained that there is no basis for disqualifying him from the ballot under the 14th Amendment, claiming Monday that it is a ruse by Democrats “to again steal an Election.”

Raffensperger was at the center of the controversial phone call Trump made in 2020 where he asked Georgia’s top election official to “find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have because we won the state.” Raffensperger ultimately refused to go along with the efforts to “find” votes to overturn the election.

That phone call is also at the center of the Fulton County investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election in the state, where District Attorney Fani Willis (D) charged Trump and 18 others related to alleged efforts to interfere with the election.

Tags 14th Amendment Brad Raffensperger Donald Trump Fani Willis Georgia Trump Georgia indictment