Updated December 28, 2023 at 11:08 PM ET

Former President Donald Trump won't be on Maine's primary ballot after the state's secretary of state ruled he isn't qualified based on his attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, a Democrat, released a 34-page ruling on Thursday evening stating that Trump's primary election petition is "invalid."

"I find the declaration on his candidate form is false because he is not qualified to hold off of the President under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment [of the U.S. Constitution]," Bellows stated in her decision.

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, sometimes called the insurrection clause, declares that no one who has engaged in an insurrection or rebellion against the United States can hold state or federal office. It was originally written post-Civil War to prevent Confederate rebels from holding elected office.

The Trump campaign issued a swift response to the ruling, calling Bellows "a virulent leftist and a hyper-partisan Biden-supporting Democrat who has decided to interfere in the presidential election on behalf of Crooked Joe Biden."

The campaign statement issued by spokesman Steven Cheung, went on to stoke fears about election interference, echoing Trump's false claims about the 2020 election that he lost.

"We are witnessing, in real-time, the attempted theft of an election and the disenfranchisement of the American voter," Cheung said. "Make no mistake, these partisan election interference efforts are a hostile assault on American democracy."

"We will quickly file a legal objection in state court to prevent this atrocious decision in Maine from taking effect," he added.

This ruling is the third state decision in the past week declaring whether or not Trump can appear on a primary ballot. Colorado's Supreme Court said he could not, citing the same section of the Constitution. Michigan's Supreme Court ruled that he can appear on that state's primary ballot as the court there believes it cannot rule on the merits on Trump's candidacy unless and until he is the Republican Party's nominee.

Trump is expected to challenge Colorado's ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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