Howard Dean Threatens New Hampshire Primary Over Proposed Voter ID Restrictions

The former DNC chair has major concerns about the Kris Kobach-led effort and about a new law in New Hampshire that could restrict the student vote.

Gideon Resnick
Sam Stein

The former chair of the Democratic National Committee said on Monday that his party could level the harshest of punishments on New Hampshire if its secretary of state doesn’t back away from efforts that could restrict voter participation.

Howard Dean, who ran the DNC from 2006 to 2008, argued that the Granite State could be stripped of its “first-in-the-nation” primary status and, potentially, have its presidential delegates removed.

“A state with voter suppression ought not to be honored by the Democratic Party by having the first-in-the-nation primary, period,” Dean said in an interview with The Daily Beast. “If they choose to hold their primary [before anyone else], you can strip the state of any delegates so that no delegates are awarded and you can sanction candidates who are running there.”

Dean’s remarks ratchet up the war of words being waged over a slate of restrictive voter ID laws and efforts proposed by the Trump administration. Opponents have characterized the proposals as acts of clandestine voter suppression.

Dean’s statements were echoed by Democracy for America, a political action committee that he founded after his 2008 presidential bid.

“Secretaries of state should be focused on making it easier for individuals to get to the polls and participate in our Democracy, not actively colluding with a president narcissistically focused on an enabling voter suppression to prop up the lie that he won an election he actually lost by over 3 million votes,” Neil Sroka, communications director for DFA, told The Daily Beast. “If New Hampshire doesn’t have that kind of secretary of state, Democrats should think long and hard about whether the Granite State deserves to continue to have outsized say in our presidential nominating contest.”

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