Maine elections official who removed Trump from primary ballot targeted in swatting incident, police say

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CNN  — 

State police say they responded to a swatting call at the home of Maine State Secretary of State Shenna Bellows on Friday night, a day after she removed former President Donald Trump from the state’s 2024 primary ballot.

Police say no residents were at the Manchester home when the incident occurred around 8:25 p.m. Maine State Police officers “conducted an exterior check of the residence and an interior sweep” of Bellows’ home at her request but did not locate anything suspicious, according to a statement released Saturday.

Swatting is a prank call made to authorities with the purpose of luring them to a location – usually a home – where they are led to believe a crime has been committed or is in progress. This results in a forceful response from local police or SWAT teams, which have no way of knowing the call is a hoax.

Bellows, a Democrat, on Thursday removed Trump from Maine’s 2024 primary ballot, in a decision based on the 14th Amendment’s “insurrectionist ban.” Bellows put her decision on hold until Maine’s Superior Court issues a ruling. State law lays out timelines for that court and, if the decision is appealed, for the state Supreme Court to act by the end of January.

Bellows told CNN on Friday that her office has received threats since her decision.

“We have received threatening communications,” she told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins on “The Situation Room.”

“I certainly worry about the safety of people that I love, people around me, and people charged with protecting me and working alongside me,” she added. “That being said, we are a nation of laws, and that’s what’s really important. So, I have been laser-focused on that obligation to uphold the Constitution.”

Bellows acknowledged the swatting call in a Facebook post, saying she and her husband, Brandon, are safe and were not home on Friday when “threats escalated” and their home address was posted online.

The secretary of state called the swatting of her home and the “non-stop threatening communications” that her colleagues have been receiving since Friday unacceptable.

“It’s designed to scare not only me but also others into silence, to send a message,” she wrote.

Maine State Police are investigating the swatting incident at Bellows’ home in conjunction with other law enforcement agencies.

Bellows’ decision made Maine the second state to disqualify Trump from office, after the Colorado Supreme Court earlier this month handed down its own ruling that removed him from the ballot. Other challenges are still pending, including in Oregon, as the 2024 primary cycle approaches.

CNN’s Marshall Cohen contributed to this report.

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Maine elections official who removed Trump from primary ballot targeted in swatting incident, police say

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