February 8, 2024

Hawaii's Trump Ballot Ban Bill Moves Forward

Hawaii's state legislature narrowly advanced Senate Bill 2392 on Tuesday, a measure with potential implications for former President Donald Trump's eligibility on the 2024 presidential ballot.

The bill, approved by the Hawaii State Senate Judiciary Committee with a single vote margin, now moves to the full floor for consideration.

It proposes empowering the chief elections officer to potentially disqualify Trump from ballot inclusion.

Proponents of the bill argue that Trump's alleged involvement in the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, constitutes an insurrection, warranting his exclusion from presidential candidacy.

Critics of the bill, who outnumbered supporters during testimonies, condemned it as an act of government overreach.

"This is tyrannical, to say the least," said Jamie Detwiler, a resident who testified ahead of the vote. "He has not been convicted nor has he been charged with insurrection (cheers) there is no evidence of committing insurrection so please don’t waste our time on this poorly written piece of legislation."

They pointed out Trump's lack of formal charges or convictions related to insurrection and criticized the legislation's perceived shortcomings.

Testimonies regarding the bill drew significant attention, with over 300 complaints or negative responses recorded, while only approximately 20 expressed support.

Senator Karl Rhoads, a Democrat, introduced the bill due to Hawaii's lack of an established legal process for candidate ballot exemption or disqualification.

Senate Bill 2392, endorsed by a 3-2 committee vote, establishes a framework for candidate disqualification and outlines procedures for election ballot issuance and candidate challenges.

It stipulates that electors cannot vote for candidates disqualified under constitutional or statutory provisions.

The bill, backed by Hawaii's Democratic Party, awaits further legislative review. Senator Rhoads, serving on multiple committees including the Judiciary Committee, played a pivotal role in the bill's proposal and advancement.

The outcome of the bill's consideration on the full floor will have significant implications for the state's electoral landscape and potentially influence broader discussions on candidate eligibility criteria.

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