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Sunday, September 24, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Let America Vote founder Jason Kander is a smirking menace. The former Missouri secretary of state wants to come to New Hampshire, cast aspersions on our elections, and use his wokeness as a springboard to bigger things.

“I’m really focused on making sure we still have elections, and maybe one day I’ll be in one,” he said in an interview. Mr. Kander was explaining his five recent trips here in a way that was supposed to draw a few knowing chuckles.


We should laugh him out of the state instead for this insult to our competency and our pride. “Making sure we still have elections” my left elbow, if children are reading.

New Hampshire is home to the first-in-the-nation presidential primaries of both parties for a darned good reason. We take our elections here very seriously. Our state serves as a crucial proving ground for candidates. If they can make it here, they just might make it to the White House.

That means we welcome people to come in from out of state and try to convince us who we should vote for. We can accommodate any number of town hall meetings, debates, campaign workers, and even journalists. We will hear them out, make up our minds, and do our duty. But the final choice needs to be ours and ours alone.

There is a real danger of out-of-staters tipping an election here. That likely happened as recently as last November.

Donald Trump lost the statewide presidential election by fewer votes than the number of recent alleged arrivals to New Hampshire who also cast ballots. I say “alleged” because many of them proceeded to exit the state shortly after voting. To vote, they used out-of-state licenses but swore they were locals.

That’s why the New Hampshire legislature passed Senate Bill 3. It still allows people who recently moved here to use out-of-state IDs in a pinch, but it also forces them to bring some proof along with them to verify that they actually live here. It thus strikes what most fair-minded folks concede is a reasonable balance to safeguard our elections.

New Hampshire Democrats rely on these out-of-state voters so it’s no wonder they get histrionic whenever a) you call them on this or b) take any concrete steps to fix the problem.

Now, New Hampshire Democrats are challenging Senate Bill 3 in court, in a case that is ultimately unlikely to go their way. Mr. Kander is supplementing their efforts by litigating the case in the court of public opinion and thus bringing political pressure on the judiciary to cave.

In the process, he’s sounding like the worst sort of trial lawyer — so brazen that even John Edwards must be madly scribbling notes.

Mr. Kander called Senate Bill 3 a “devious attempt to go after young people, to go after students,” as if it were some sort of perverted sex offender.

He said that it was a whole “new approach to voter suppression,” when the only votes it is aimed at “suppressing” are the votes of those folks who do not live here, do not pay taxes here, and who thus have no legitimate right to vote here.

Speaking of the national conversation around voting rights, Mr. Kander even said the following: “Ground zero for it right now really is in New Hampshire.” Think about that for a second: Ground zero. I guess it’s not too soon to invoke 9/11 to justify the latest partisan posturing.

State Democrats are welcoming Mr. Kander with open arms, inviting him to speak at all kinds of events. They want him to help stir up doubt about the integrity of our elections. In the process, the impression they are likely leaving in the minds of real local New Hampshire voters reeks of sour grapes and corruption.

Remember, Republicans could have contested the presidential election results in this state last November. But we didn’t. We accepted it and went forward, determined only to ensure that future contests be fought on an even playing field.

If Mr. Kander and kompany try too hard to tilt the contest now, trust me, they will not enjoy that grudge match. New Hampshire elephants have vast memories, and even bigger feet.

• Patrick Hynes is the President of Hynes Communications. He is a consultant who lives in New Hampshire.


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