CONCORD, New Hampshire — New Hampshire’s prime election official mentioned Wednesday he is not going to invoke an modification to the U.S. Structure to dam former President Donald Trump from showing on ballots within the state, which is able to maintain the primary Republican presidential main subsequent yr.
“So long as he submits his declaration of candidacy and indicators it below the penalties of perjury and pays the $1,000 submitting price, his identify will seem on the presidential main poll,” Secretary of State David Scanlan mentioned in a press convention he known as to deal with varied authorized efforts to bar Trump from the 2024 race.
Below New Hampshire regulation, the identify of anybody who pays the submitting price and swears they meet the age, citizenship and residency necessities “shall be printed on the ballots.”
“That language just isn’t discretionary,” mentioned Scanlan, a Republican elected by the Legislature with bipartisan assist in 2022 after serving twenty years as deputy secretary of state.
Scanlan rejected claims made in lawsuits filed in New Hampshire and elsewhere that Trump is ineligible to run for the White Home once more below a not often used clause below the 14th Modification to the U.S. Structure, which prohibits those that “engaged in an revolt or rebel” towards the Structure from holding larger workplace. Whereas different election officers have mentioned they’re on the lookout for steering from the courts on how you can interpret the clause, Scanlan mentioned it doesn’t pertain to working for workplace.
“In a state of affairs the place some states allow a reputation to seem on the poll and different states disqualify it, chaos, confusion, anger and frustration would be the outcome,” he mentioned. “At a time when we have to guarantee transparency and construct confidence amongst voters across the nation, the delegate choice course of shouldn’t be the battleground to check this constitutional query.”
The Civil Warfare-era clause prohibits anybody who swore an oath to uphold the Structure — after which broke it — from holding workplace. The supply is nestled on the finish of the 14th Modification, which has been the inspiration of civil rights litigation, and doesn’t explicitly point out the presidency however does cite “presidential electors.”
It has been used solely a few instances since Congress rescinded the measure’s ban on former Confederates in 1872. However the clause obtained renewed consideration after the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol by a mob loyal to Trump that was in search of to halt certification of the 2020 election outcomes.
The liberal group Free Speech For Folks, which sued to bar Trump from the poll in Minnesota on Tuesday, requested in 2021 that each one 50 states hold the previous president off the 2024 poll. These calls for have drawn extra consideration as voting within the Republican presidential main attracts nearer and an rising variety of authorized students argue that the 14th Modification may very well prohibit Trump from working once more.
Scattered lawsuits have been filed making that declare, often by comparatively obscure political personalities representing themselves, corresponding to in Maine and New Hampshire. In each states, a longshot Republican presidential hopeful who lives in Texas has filed the lawsuit. However the first wave of serious litigation started final week when a outstanding liberal group sued to maintain the previous president off the Colorado poll. The Trump marketing campaign briefly moved the case from Colorado court docket to federal court docket, however on Tuesday it returned to state court docket.
The problem will probably solely be resolved by the U.S. Supreme Courtroom, which has by no means dominated on the clause.
Most secretaries of state have balked on the concept of placing a presidential candidate on their very own. Minnesota Secretary of State Scott Simon, a Democrat, mentioned in a press release final week that his workplace can’t take such motion by itself and will solely achieve this if compelled by courts.
“The Workplace of the Minnesota Secretary of State doesn’t have authorized authority to research a candidate’s eligibility for workplace,” Simon mentioned days earlier than the lawsuit filed by Free Speech For Folks to declare Trump ineligible.
Scanlan’s announcement, backed up by a authorized evaluation from the state legal professional common, got here a day after the Trump marketing campaign despatched him a letter signed by dozens of Republican state lawmakers urging him to reject what they known as “an absurd conspiracy concept.” The state’s Lawyer Common John Formella mentioned Scanlan doesn’t have authority below state regulation to dam a candidate from the poll on grounds that they might be disqualified below the modification.
New Hampshire regulation does give Scanlan sole authority to schedule the first. He hasn’t executed that but, however on Wednesday introduced that candidates can join between Oct. 11 and Oct. 27.
Story by Holly Ramer and Nicholas Riccardi.