Law commission

Ballot Law Commission rejects request to bar secessionists from running for state government – New Hampshire Bulletin

The Ballot Law Commission on Wednesday dismissed a complaint seeking to bar secessionists from running for state government.

The commission determined that it did not have jurisdiction over the matter because it is a matter related to the U.S. Constitution and not a matter of state election law.

The decision comes after 13 state officials vote in favor of New Hampshire seceding from the last US legislative session, some of whom are now seeking re-election.

“I don’t see where we can determine insurgent intent or the constitutionality of a matter,” Commissioner David Campbell said. “So for that reason I don’t think we should continue with that.”

Atkinson’s Karen Steele had filed the lawsuit, arguing that state officials who voted for secession in the previous legislative session violated the 14th Amendment by aiding rebellion and insurrection. Steele said violation of the U.S. Constitution should be grounds for barring such representatives from running for or serving in state office.

“As an individual citizen, I find it alarming that some of our elected officials are spending their time planning how New Hampshire should break away from the union, trying to become a sovereign nation,” she told the commission.

The commission sought the legal opinion of the attorney general’s office on this matter.

“The question is not whether this action is heinous or even illegal. The question is simply whether they think this constitutes an insurrection or a rebellion within the 14e Amendment,” Kevin Scura, a lawyer with the attorney general’s office, told the commission. He pointed to jurisprudence from after the civil war and the January 6, 2021, uprising.

Committee chairman Bradford Cook noted that the decision was about the jurisdiction of the committee and that no one on the committee had a “secession sympathy moment.”

Pro-secession freedom activists in the audience applauded the decision. Hooksett’s Elliot Axelman said it would strengthen the secessionist movement in the state in the future and Reps would try again to pursue secession through legislation.

Members of the Free State Project were also present, including President Emeritus Carla Gericke.