New York State BOE Allows Trump on GOP Primary Ballot

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event Jan. 27, 2024, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

ALBANY (New York Daily News/TNS) – The New York State Board of Elections on Tuesday granted former President Donald Trump a spot on the state’s GOP presidential primary, allowing him access two days before the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a mammoth case determining his ballot eligibility nationwide.

The two Republicans on the state Elections Board approved Trump’s ballot line in a brief meeting at the board’s Albany offices. The bipartisan board has four members, but its two Republicans have control over eligibility decisions for GOP presidential candidates.

The decision came after two states, Maine and Colorado, moved to remove the former president from their Republican primary ballots this winter. The conservative U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear oral arguments in the Colorado case on Thursday.

In late December, Colorado’s top court disqualified Trump from the state’s ballot, finding in a 4 to 3 decision that Trump is not eligible to return to the presidency due to his role in the Jan. 6 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol, in which supporters attempted to prevent Congress from certifying the results of the election.

The Colorado court was the first to accept the argument that Trump’s relationship with Jan. 6 runs afoul of a constitutional provision barring people from holding office if they violate an oath to the Constitution by engaging in insurrection. Maine’s secretary of state reached the same conclusion, and also barred Trump from the ballot in December.

Elections officials and judges in other states, including deep-blue California, have turned back challenges to Trump’s eligibility, saying that such a decision should wait until the Supreme Court’s ruling, expected to be released Thursday.

Court watchers have expressed skepticism that the nation’s top court would sweep the 45th president off the ballot. But it is unclear how the court might address the novel and high-stakes question.

Perhaps not since Bush v. Gore, the 2000 case in which the court reviewed the fate of a recount in Florida in the presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore, has the Supreme Court heard such a politically explosive case.

If the court were to remove Trump from the ballot, or to allow him to be removed in some states, it could supercharge the candidacy of his one remaining Republican rival, former Gov. Nikki Haley. She has pledged to keep up her fight after losing to Trump in Iowa and New Hampshire but is far behind in the polls.

New Yorkers are not due to vote in this year’s Republican primary until April 2, and it is unclear if Trump will still have a challenger by then. If Trump’s ballot status is reaffirmed and he continues to hold yawning leads over Haley, she may face growing pressure to drop out.

Trump maintains modest leads over Biden nationally, according to polling. In 2020, Biden beat Trump by 74 electoral votes and more than 7 million votes in the popular vote.

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