Former President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC 2023, March 4, at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland. Credit: Alex Brandon / AP

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine’s secretary of state and attorney general said Thursday they are reviewing state statutes to determine if former President Donald Trump is eligible to appear on the 2024 ballot amid calls in various states for the Republican to be disqualified for stoking the violent Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Secretary of State Shenna Bellows and Attorney General Aaron Frey, both Democrats, said in a statement regarding “14th Amendment election law questions” that they are “working together to research and analyze the legal requirements for ballot access, including presidential ballot access, as we do prior to every major election.”

“Any decisions about ballot access will be made dispassionately at the proper time in accordance with the laws and the Constitution, which will be our sole consideration,” the two officials said, without mentioning Trump.

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says no person who has previously taken an oath of office “shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.” Congress can remove that prohibition with a two-thirds vote in each chamber, per the Constitution.

That section is leading to calls for secretaries of state around the country to disqualify Trump from appearing on the 2024 presidential ballot. Maine’s presidential primary is set for March 5, 2024.

Trump, who remains the clear GOP frontrunner, has been indicted in four pending cases alleging he sought to overturn his 2020 election defeat to President Joe Biden in the run-up to the Jan. 6 riot, mishandled classified documents, tried to reverse his election loss in Georgia and made hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels.

A few conservative legal scholars have said Trump is constitutionally barred from running for president due to encouraging the “insurrection” at the Capitol, but other experts have said nothing is preventing Trump — the first former president indicted in U.S. history — from running for office and serving again.

Maine will send its first set of ballots to military and overseas voters on Jan. 20, 2024, with state statutes also laying out the process for challenging candidate petitions and allowing candidates to appeal a decision against them in court. Bellows told the Bangor Daily News her office has received “a number of queries” from people who are “advocating one way or another regarding ballot access.”

“We don’t adjust the timelines or speculate prematurely about what might or might not happen because our job is to uphold the law and the Constitution and to interpret that based on actual facts presented to us,” Bellows added.

Top election officials in several states are reviewing or preparing for potential challenges to Trump’s ballot eligibility. The Democratic secretary of state in Arizona said Wednesday he does not have the ability to bar Trump due to a previous Arizona Supreme Court case that found there is no statutory process to enforce Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

Closer to Maine, New Hampshire Secretary of State David Scanlan’s office received a flood of calls from Trump supporters after Scanlan, a Republican, met with a former GOP state Senate candidate who is considering challenging Trump’s eligibility. 

Billy Kobin is a politics reporter who joined the Bangor Daily News in 2023. He grew up in Wisconsin and previously worked at The Indianapolis Star and The Courier Journal (Louisville, Ky.) after graduating...