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Opinion

Primary State Drops the Ball: Trump Is Still on the Ballot

Donald Trump appears on 60 Minutes via CBS

Despite four criminal indictments facing the Republican frontrunner, New Hampshire primary says Donald Trump will remain on the ballot.

The top election official in New Hampshire says he won’t invoke the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution in order to block Trump from the ballot.

New Hampshire is the first state in the primary Republican calendar.

New Hampshire Secretary of State Dave Scanlan said Trump needs to simply “submit his declaration of candidacy and sign it under the penalties of perjury, pay the $1,000 filing fee, [and] his name will appear on the presidential primary ballot.”

“That language is not discretionary,” Scanlan emphasized.

Scanlan also said, “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.”

“There is nothing in the 14th Amendment that suggests that exercising the provisions of that amendment should take place during the delegate selection process as held by the different states,” he added.

“There is nothing in our state statute that gives the Secretary of State discretion in entertaining qualification issues once a candidate swears under the penalties of perjury that they meet the qualifications to be president.”

Minnesota Secretary of State Scott Simon, a Democrat, said his office can’t take such action on its own unless compelled by courts.

U.S. Supreme Court will likely need to weigh in on the issue. It has never ruled on the clause in Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

“I think a decision on this requires a ruling from the United States Supreme Court to do anything differently than what we have planned here,” Scanlan said.

“In a situation where some states permit a name to appear on the ballot and other states disqualify it, chaos, confusion, anger and frustration will be the result,” Scanlan warned.

“At a time when we need to ensure transparency and build confidence among voters around the country, the delegate selection process should not be the battleground to test this constitutional question.”

New Hampshire GOP chair Chris Ager said, “I’m very happy with the decision. It made a lot of sense to me the way the Secretary articulated the process and the decision-making, and now we can put the 14th Amendment to bed in New Hampshire and get back to campaigning.”

“I think it’s the right thing to do,” Ager added. “It gives clarity to what’s going to happen in New Hampshire.”

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