Serving Franklin County, WA

Kitsap court to hear attempt to keep Trump off ballot

Previous Spokane Valley effort failed

OLYMPIA – Eight Kitsap County residents have filed a lawsuit to try to remove former President Donald Trump from the March 12 primary election ballot.

The lawsuit (Kitsap County Superior Court case No. 24-2- 00075-18) was filed in both Kitsap and Thurston counties on Wednesday, Jan. 10, records show. A hearing on the matter has been set for Tuesday, Jan. 16, in Kitsap County Superior Court.

The lawsuit alleges Trump, a Republican, is ineligible to be on the ballot under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The section relating to those who supported seceding from the U.S. prior to and during the Civil War prevents those who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” from holding an elected office in the U.S.

The lawsuit uses the Jan. 6, 2021, protest in Washington, D.C., as its basis for a claim of insurrection.

While neither President Trump nor any of the Jan. 6 protesters have been charged with insurrection, the lawsuit says, “He has continued to aid and abet those who engaged in violence to overturn the election on January 6, through his words and financial support.”

Multiple lawsuits have been filed across the country using that section as grounds to try to prevent Trump’s name from appearing on primary ballots.

So far, only a Colorado court has ruled in favor of removal, although that case is under appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In Maine, Secretary of State Shenna Lee Bellows, a staunch Democrat, unilaterally said she would remove Trump’s name, following a court ruling, because she personally found his petition to appear on the ballot invalid over her believe he violated Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

Courts nationwide, however, have rejected all other attempts to remove Trump from primary election ballots. The most recent ruling occurred today, Friday, Jan. 12, in Oregon, where that state’s Supreme Court declined to hear a case for removal, citing the appeal of the Colorado case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Kitsap County lawsuit isn’t the first to make its way before a judge in Washington state.

A previous lawsuit filed in November by Jennifer Laitinen of Spokane Valley failed to pass muster with U.S. District Court Judge Stanley Bastian in Spokane, in part, because it was filed prior to the Republican Party naming its candidates for the March 12 ballot.

"Plaintiff's complaint concerns a hypothetical, as it is not certain that Mr. Trump will appear on the Washington presidential primary ballot," Bastian wrote in his dismissal. "As such, the court does not have subject matter jurisdiction over plaintiff's complaint, and it must be dismissed."

The official list was announced Jan. 9 by Secretary of State Steve Hobbs.

Republicans on the ballot include Trump, Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy and Chris Christie. Democrats include Joseph R. Biden Jr., Dean Phillips and Marianne Williamson.

“I am committed to presenting Washingtonians with the opportunity to make their voices heard in the Presidential Primary March 12, which requires printing ballots and sending them to registered voters weeks ahead of Election Day,” Hobbs said, reacting to the lawsuit. “Our state’s process gives the courts an important role in answering questions about eligibility.”

Author Bio

Roger Harnack, Publisher

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Roger Harnack is the co-owner/publisher of Free Press Publishing. Having grown up Benton City, Roger is an award-winning journalist, photographer, editor and publisher. He's one of only two editorial/commentary writers from Washington state to ever receive the international Golden Quill. Roger is dedicated to the preservation of local media, and the voice it retains for Eastern Washington.


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