Broward provocateur sues to block Donald Trump from 2024 ballot

Chaz Stevens
The gadfly behind Festivus poles at six state Capitols is airing grievances over Trump's effort to win back his old job.

Donald Trump won’t be on the 2024 ballot in Florida, if political provocateur Chaz Stevens gets his way.

The Broward County activist responsible for erecting Festivus poles at government buildings across America and requesting Bible bans last year in most Florida school districts has filed a lawsuit to block Trump from the ticket.

“I’m just saying, ‘Listen, not on my watch,’” he told Florida Politics on Tuesday shortly after filing the complaint.

“Maybe this goes somewhere. Maybe it doesn’t. Maybe the court throws it back over the transom and says, ‘Get the hell out of here.’ But at least I’m standing up as one of many people to say, “Not today. No way.’”

Stevens, who is running a GoFundMe page to cover his legal costs, said he got the idea to file a lawsuit after seeing similar efforts in other states.

In Colorado, the state Supreme Court booted Trump from the ballot last month — a move reversed following an appeal by the state Republican Party.

Last week, Maine became the second state to remove Trump from eligibility after Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, a Democrat, said his role in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol disqualifies him from seeking his old job.

Both states cited Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment, which provides that individuals who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” are ineligible from holding office. The amendment was adopted after the Civil War as one of the Reconstruction Amendments.

Similar challenges have been brought in at least 14 other states.

Stevens said his lawsuit (viewable below) borrows heavily from a Louisiana suit resident Ashley Reeb filed last week to block the Republican front-runner from the Primary ballot in March.

Reeb’s lawsuit names Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin as the defendant. Stevens’ version names Cord Byrd “in his official capacity” as Florida Secretary of State.

It seeks to “compel him to apply the Constitutionally-required disqualification of a Constitutionally-disqualified candidate.”

Both documents also cite Article 2, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution, which includes the presidential oath of office to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution,” and Trump’s second impeachment in January 2021 for “the high crime and misdemeanor of Incitement of Insurrection.”

The U.S. Senate acquitted Trump a month later after a majority of the chamber’s members — 57 Senators, including seven Republicans — voted to convict but fell short of the two-thirds threshold necessary.

Stevens said he’s not optimistic his lawsuit will get far.

“Do I expect it to go anywhere? No. My things typically are just ignored, but that doesn’t dissuade me,” he said.

“I don’t know shit about the legal system. That’s why I hire lawyers and am asking this question. And by me jump-starting this and eventually getting some lawyer behind me, bright minds in the legal domain can ask the right questions. I would presume that the experts in Colorado who know 1,000 times more than I do and the experts in Maine — the Secretary of State, who’s pretty well-educated — are pretty sharp, smart people. If they have an issue, then I have an issue.”

Stevens, a political gadfly active since the early 2000s, drew national attention in 2013 after Fox News and Comedy Central showcased his activism against religious displays and prayer at Florida government facilities. The culmination was the installation of a six-foot pole at the state Capitol made of beer cans and PVC material celebrating Festivus, a fictional, curmudgeonly holiday first depicted in “Seinfeld.” He later erected similar poles at five other state Capitols.

Other stunts included a “Satan or Silence Project,” which challenged prayer before government meetings in Florida by invoking Satanic benedictions; mocking Miami Mayor and cryptocurrency proponent Francis Suarez’s security spending with a non-fungible token; and petitions in 63 of Florida’s 67 school districts requesting the removal of the Bible from classrooms and libraries for containing “casual” references to murder, adultery, bestiality and fornication.

“In the end, if Jimmy and Susie are curious about any of the above, they can do what everyone else does — get a room at the Motel Six and grab the Gideons,” he wrote at the time.

More behind the scenes, Stevens works as an artist and software developer. His work, he said, included designing and running the “public-facing operation” of an online “Legal Defense Fund” GOP operative and longtime Trump ally Roger Stone set up ahead of his February 2020 conviction for obstruction and witness tampering.

When Trump pardoned Stone and commuted his three-year prison sentence five months later, Stevens said he “fired Stone as a client.” But he worried afterward about “getting rolled up” in the legal hullabaloo that followed.

“I didn’t, because I didn’t do anything wrong, but I want to pay back all those assholes who caused me undue anxiety for years thinking all this shit was going on and I was going to get hit by friendly fire,” he said. “So, fuck Roger Stone and fuck Donald Trump. If you couldn’t tell before what side of the equation I’m on, you can definitely tell now.”

Stone told Florida Politics his attorney retained Stevens to do “some IT work” on his legal defense website. Based on a brief description provided to him, he said he doesn’t think Stevens’ lawsuit will go far.

“I have not seen his lawsuit, but Donald Trump has never been convicted in any court of law of insurrection and Amendment 14 Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution specifically refers to ‘officers’ of the United States. The U.S. Supreme Court has previously held that neither the President nor the Vice President are considered ‘officers’ of the United States,” he said by text.

“I doubt Mr. Stevens lawsuit has merit. I am uncertain how this is related in anyway to IT work he performed and was paid for.”

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • Julia

    January 2, 2024 at 7:11 pm

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  • Earl Pitts "Sage Expert on Everything" American

    January 2, 2024 at 7:19 pm

    Congrats Chaz,
    Bask in your 15 minutes of “Fake Relevant Fame”.
    Tomorrow its back to “Mom’s basement”.
    You did it Chaz The Spaz this is as good as its gonna get.
    Earl Pitts American

    • Chaz Stevens

      January 4, 2024 at 8:47 am

      I’ve been shot at …
      Threatened to be blinded with a soldering iron, tortured for two days, buried alive in the glades, forgotten for the ages…
      I’ve lost business, been sued, threatened, doxxed, tires slashed, windows broken, and called every name in the book.
      And the best you can come up with is “Chaz the Spaz’ … weak sauce buddy … your work product is really gonna have to step up many notches to make the grade.
      Best to you.

  • Sonja Fitch

    January 3, 2024 at 4:43 am

    Thank you ! No one is above the law of our America! The Constitution is the American way! Trump is guilty of promoting insurrection! If you don’t believe it, just ask the over 600 Americans tried in the American courts! Trump
    Ain’t above the law!!! Lock Trump up!

  • Janet Kep

    January 3, 2024 at 7:28 pm

    Where can we sign up to join his suit as co-plaintiffs. LOTS of Republicans are fed up with the lot of them – DeSantis, Scott, Rubio, Trump, Gaetz, Anna Paulina Loser, . . . .

Comments are closed.


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