President Donald Trump has made it clear that he will be seeking re-election in 2020, recently stating that fact, as reported by the New York Times. Even though the next presidential election is about 1,000 days away, if one bill passes and the president still hasn’t released his tax returns by 2020, Trump’s name might not appear on the presidential ballot at all for Maryland voters.
As reported by the Washington Post, Senator Paul G. Pinsky, a Democrat out of Prince George’s County, Maryland, has sponsored a bill that won’t allow presidential candidates’ names to appear on ballots across the state until their income tax returns have been released to the public. Thus far, the bill has found favor with the Maryland Senate, which gave a nod of approval to the bill on Thursday. With a final vote on the controversial bill expected on Friday, the bill could set a precedence for how much information presidential candidates will be allowed to hide if they want their names to appear on ballots in order to get votes.
The bill comes in the wake of Trump refusing to release his tax returns, a move that 91 percent of Democrats believe he should take, while a mere 30 percent of Republicans believe the same, reports The Hill. As such, the new bill requiring presidential candidates to release their tax returns in order to move forward in the election process by having their names placed on statewide ballots is being called partisan by opponents, who accuse Pinsky of taking an obvious jab at Trump.
However, the senator has noted that presidential candidates have released their tax returns without much issue until 15 months ago, when Trump refused to do so. Voters like to know who they are voting for prior to getting in the voting booth, Pinsky argued, and part of that getting to know a candidate involves viewing their income tax returns to ensure they line up with the principles being espoused on the campaign trail.
Pinsky argued that while Trump may have prompted the need for such a bill, it wasn’t created to attack the sitting president, but has become a method of requiring future candidates to release their tax returns. Maryland is the most recent state to mull over such a bill, with California and New Jersey passing bills akin to Maryland’s new bill, even though the bills were eventually vetoed in those states.
If the Maryland bill passes, candidates vying to become president and vice president would be forced to reveal five years of their income taxes more than two months prior to the polls opening. If other, critical swing states decide to pass similar bills — and they aren’t vetoed due to constitutional concerns — Trump could find his name left off the ballots of some states if he refuses to release his tax returns by the 2020 deadline.