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New Hampshire Secretary of State: No Legal Grounds to Keep Donald Trump Off the Ballot

Lawsuits have been filed in Colorado and Minnesota arguing for Trump's disqualification under Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment

The New Hampshire Secretary of State says there is no legal reason to keep former President Donald Trump off the ballot in 2024, provided he completes the required steps for registration.

Secretary David Scanlan’s comments come after two lawsuits were filed – one in Colorado and the other in Minnesota – to keep Trump off the ballot in 2024.  Both complaints cited the Fourteenth Amendment and argued the former president’s actions on Jan. 6, 2021, constitute supporting an insurrection.

“There is no mention in New Hampshire state statute that a candidate in a New Hampshire presidential primary can be disqualified using the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution, referencing insurrection or rebellion,” Scanlan said at a news conference on Sept. 13. “Similarly, there is nothing in the 14th amendment that suggests that exercising the provisions of that amendment should take place during the delegate selection process held by the different states.”

“As long as he submits his declaration of candidacy and signs it under the penalties of perjury and pays the $1,000 filing fee, his name will appear on the presidential primary ballot,” he said.

A group of New Hampshire lawmakers asked Scanlan to ensure Trump would be permitted to appear on the ballot in the wake of “political attacks” from those who are “weaponizing Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

“There is no legal basis for these claims to hold up in any legitimate court of law. The opinions of those perpetuating this fraud against the will of the people are nothing more than a blatant attempt to affront democracy and disenfranchise all voters and the former President,” wrote the coalition, which included more than 60 state representatives, in a Sept. 12 letter. “These individuals who are seeking to deny voters access to support their candidate of choice are nothing more than political pawns of the Left doing their bidding, which is disappointing since the Democrat Party has continually tried to strip New Hampshire of its First-in-the-Nation status.”

Presidential candidates who intend to appear on the ballot in New Hampshire must file with the state between Oct. 11 and Oct. 27, per NHPR.

New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella and Scanlan released a joint statement on Aug. 29 noting their offices were “aware of public discourse regarding the potential applicability of Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution to the upcoming presidential election cycle.” At the time, both Fromella and Scanlan said their offices had not “taken any position regarding the potential applicability” of the amendment. 

Fromella released a letter on Sept. 13 summarizing his interpretation of the applicability of Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment. 

“In circumstances where a presidential primary candidate has not been convicted or otherwise adjudicated guilty of conduct that would disqualify that candidate under section Three, I conclude that New Hampshire law does not give the Secretary of State the discretion to decline to place a presidential candidate’s name on the ballot based on alleged Section Three disqualification,” wrote Fromella. “This conclusion further avoids potentially serious due process concerns that could arise if the Secretary of State were permitted to make unilateral decisions regarding a candidate’s disqualification under Section Three without an adjudicatory process conducted by the Secretary of State (for which New Hampshire law does not provide) or a conviction or adjudication of disqualifying conduct in another forum.”

Trump, who currently leads the other Republican hopefuls in the polls, has previously faced other efforts to keep him from appearing on a ballot during the 2024 presidential election.

Free Speech For People, the non-profit organization that brought the Minnesota lawsuit, “asked in 2021 that all 50 states keep the former president off the 2024 ballot,” per AP News.

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