WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Maine’s high election official on Thursday disqualified Donald Trump from the state poll in subsequent yr’s U.S. presidential major election, turning into the second state to bar the previous president for his function within the Jan. 6, 2021 assault on the Capitol.

Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, a Democrat, concluded that Trump, the frontrunner for the Republican nomination in 2024, incited an riot when he unfold false claims about voter fraud within the 2020 election after which urged his supporters to march on the Capitol to cease lawmakers from certifying the vote.

Bellows suspended her resolution till the state supreme courtroom dominated on the matter.

The choice got here after a bunch of former Maine lawmakers mentioned that Trump needs to be disqualified primarily based on a provision of the U.S. Structure that bars folks from holding workplace in the event that they engaged in “riot or riot” after beforehand swearing an oath to the USA.

The ruling, which might be appealed to a state courtroom, applies solely to the March major election, but it surely may have an effect on Trump’s standing for the November normal election. It possible will add to strain on the U.S. Supreme Court docket to resolve questions on Trump’s eligibility nationwide beneath the constitutional provision often called Part 3 of the 14th Modification.

Trump has been indicted in each a federal case and in Georgia for his function in attempting to overturn the 2020 election however he has not been charged with riot associated to the Jan. 6 assault. He leads opinion polls by a big margin within the race for the Republican nomination in 2024.

Colorado’s high courtroom disqualified Trump from the state major poll on Dec. 19, making him the primary candidate in U.S. historical past to be deemed ineligible for the presidency for participating in riot.

Trump has vowed to attraction the Colorado ruling to the Supreme Court docket and criticized poll challenges as “undemocratic.” The Colorado Republican Occasion filed its personal Supreme Court docket attraction on Wednesday.

Related makes an attempt to disqualify Trump in different states have been rejected. The highest courtroom in Michigan, a pivotal battleground state within the normal election, declined on Wednesday to listen to an attraction on Trump’s eligibility to carry workplace.

Maine is rated as possible Democratic by non-partisan election forecasters, that means President Joe Biden is anticipated to win the state. However Trump captured one electoral vote from Maine in each the 2016 and 2020 elections because of an uncommon setup that permits the state to separate its 4 Electoral School votes.

Candidates should win 270 Electoral School votes to win the presidency.

Advocacy teams and a few anti-Trump voters have challenged Trump’s candidacy in a number of states beneath Part 3 of the 14th Modification, which was handed after the U.S. Civil Battle to maintain former confederates from serving in authorities.

Not like different states, Bellows, who oversees elections in Maine, was required to make an preliminary willpower about disqualification earlier than it was thought-about by the courts.

Legal professionals for Trump have disputed that he engaged in riot and argued that his remarks to supporters on the day of the 2021 riot had been protected by his proper to free speech. His authorized staff additionally made a number of procedural arguments, together with that eligibility beneath Part 3 was not talked about in required paperwork Trump filed to be on the poll within the state.

A ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court docket within the Colorado case could resolve the problem nationwide. The courtroom’s 6-3 conservative majority consists of three justices nominated by Trump.

(Reporting by Andrew Goudsward; extra reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Modifying by Noeleen Walder and Alistair Bell)

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