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Colorado secretary of state weighs in on state supreme court barring Trump from ballot for insurrection

December 19, 2023, 4:38 pm

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold on Tuesday issued the following press release on the Colorado Supreme Court Decision in Anderson v. Griswold finding that former President Donald Trump is ineligible to appear on the Colorado ballot because he engaged in an insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021:

Donald Trump

Today, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that Donald Trump is ineligible to appear on Colorado’s 2024 Presidential Primary Ballot. Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, in her role as chief elections official in the State of Colorado, issued the below statement regarding the ruling: 

Statement attributed to Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold

The Colorado Supreme Court has ruled that Donald Trump is barred from the Colorado ballot for inciting the January 6 insurrection and attempting to overturn the 2020 Presidential Election. This decision may be appealed. I will continue to follow court guidance on this important issue.

Secretary Griswold was sued by six Republican and Unaffiliated Colorado voters on September 6, 2023. The lawsuit argued the Secretary must disqualify former president Donald J. Trump from the Colorado ballot based on the language of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. 

Colorado Law Pertaining to Eligibility for Office

Colorado law is unclear on how to consider the requirements of the United States Constitution in determining whether a candidate is eligible for office, including the language of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. Colorado Revised Statutes 1-4-501(1), “Only eligible electors eligible for office,” reads:

(1) No person except an eligible elector who is at least eighteen years of age, unless another age is required by law, is eligible to hold any office in this state. No person is eligible to be a designee or candidate for office unless that person fully meets the qualifications of that office as stated in the constitution and statutes of this state on or before the date the term of that office begins. The designated election official shall not certify the name of any designee or candidate who fails to swear or affirm under oath that he or she will fully meet the qualifications of the office if elected; or who is unable to provide proof that he or she meets any requirements of the office relating to registration, residence, or property ownership; or who the designated election official determines is not qualified to hold the office that he or she seeks based on residency requirements. The information found on the person’s voter registration record is admissible as prima facie evidence of compliance with this section.

The full statute citation can be found at C.R.S. 1-4-501 (HTML).

Presidential Primary Ballot Certification Requirements in Colorado

For declared candidates from a major party to qualify for and be placed on the presidential primary ballot in Colorado, they must be eligible for nomination and complete additional steps.

More information about the path to Presidential Primary Certification can be found at https://www.coloradosos.gov/pubs/elections/Candidates/PrimaryPresidentPetition.html (HTML). The Federal Election Commission may have additional requirements that are not addressed at the state level.

At the time of this publication, no candidates have qualified for the presidential primary ballot in Colorado. Information about candidates’ statuses for the Colorado ballot will be available at GoVoteColorado.gov (HTML) after candidates begin filing presidential primary paperwork with the Colorado Department of State.

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution 

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution reads:

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such a disability.”

The full text of the 14th amendment can be found at archives.gov (HTML).

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