NY election officials set to take up Trump ballot eligibility Feb. 6

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By Dan Sears

Officials with the New York Board of Elections are poised to decide Feb. 6 whether Donald Trump is qualified to appear on the state’s 2024 presidential primary ballot, two days before the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments on his eligibility.

Raymond J. Riley III, Republican co-executive director of the state board, said in a statement on Monday a “determination on ballot access” would come at the February meeting. The statement released through the board noted that “all filings will be reviewed.”

Currently, three Republican presidential candidates have filed with the state board: Trump, Vivek Ramaswamy and Chris Christie.

Democrats in the New York City Council and state Legislature have asked the board to withhold Trump’s name, contending he is ineligible due to his role in the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. However, some Republican officials, public interest experts and others say unlike Colorado and Maine, two states that have removed Trump from their ballots, New York currently has no similar mechanism.

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“There’s no procedure which would empower any particular entity or individual to test the qualifications of any candidate, much less a presidential candidate,” Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause New York, said. “So if there is going to be action here in New York, it’s most likely that there would have to be a new law passed.”

The state’s Board of Elections is evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, which some observers believe greatly increases the chances that the board will be deadlocked on any attempts to remove any candidate. Additionally, a decision by the Supreme Court could render any state action moot.

Jason Weingartner, the New York Republican state committee’s executive director, said that the board would have to go beyond its existing mandate in order to determine Trump’s eligibility.

“They’re not a court of law,” he said. “They are not in a position to determine whether or not someone was an insurrectionist. You need to have that done in a court of law with a finding of fact. And they are just not that.”

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The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to review the Colorado ruling knocking Trump off the ballot in that state, setting it for argument Feb. 8 and setting the stage for a ruling that could have implications for state ballots across the nation.

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