get off my ballot
March 20, 2019

If you can't beat him, find a way to keep him off the ballot. That's what legislators in 18 states are trying to do to President Trump in the 2020 presidential elections.

The Washington Post reports that several statehouses are looking to pass laws that will require presidential candidates to release their tax returns on if they want to see their name on voting ballots.

Some proponents of the numerous bills argue that they are geared toward increasing transparency and returning to the "norm" of candidates sharing their financial records with the public, which Trump has, to date, refused to do.

But, per the Post, other lawmakers are not even trying to be coy. They've admitted that the legislative push is "very much about Trump."

Most of the states that are considering this are controlled by Democrats, though the party has introduced legislation even in some Republican-controlled states.

The Washington state Senate actually passed a bill last Tuesday that would require candidates to release five years of tax returns before they could appear on the state's primary or general election ballot. It will now face a vote in the House.

But there are skeptics on both sides of the aisle. When his state passed a similar bill in 2017, former California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) vetoed it. In his decision, he questioned the idea's constitutionality — indeed, while states can set their own standards for ballot inclusion, it is unclear whether demanding the release of returns could be part of those standards. Brown also said the tax return precedent could set states on a "slippery slope," which could lead to requests for many other kinds of personal documents, including health records and high school report cards. Read the full report at The Washington Post. Tim O'Donnell

See More Speed Reads