- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 4, 2023

New Hampshire Democrats are warning the national party they will not be able to meet some of the demands the Democratic National Committee laid out in its planned makeover of the presidential nomination calendar.

Senate Democratic Leader Donna Soucy and others in the state party sent a letter to the DNC that they’ve done what they can to fulfill the demand to expand early voting because the GOP controls the governor’s mansion and the state legislature.

“Given Governor [Chris] Sununu’s 2019 veto, it is highly unlikely that he and the Republicans will change course now because of demands from the DNC,” the letter reads. “We believe that the strong Democratic support for no-fault absentee voting shows New Hampshire Democrats’ commitment to the goals laid out by the DNC.” 

The letter added, “Punishing New Hampshire Democrats, who have no ability to address voting laws in the face of a Republican trifecta in the state, could have dire consequences for Democrats up and down the ticket in 2024.”

The DNC Rules and Bylaws committee last month signed off on President Biden’s proposed reshuffling of the early nominating states.

The plan calls for South Carolina to kick off the nomination race on Feb. 3, 2024, followed by Nevada and New Hampshire on Feb. 6, 2024, then Georgia, then Michigan.

Iowa, meanwhile, is set to be stripped of its spot as the first stop on the nomination calendar, upending decades of tradition. The full DNC is set to take up the proposal early this year.

The shakeup is part of the party’s push to reach out to a more racially and geographically diverse set of voters.

The planned overhaul has given way to questions as to whether the DNC would penalize states such as Iowa and New Hampshire if they went rogue and decided to hold their nomination contest before South Carolina.

The panel’s proposal called on New Hampshire lawmakers to repeal the state’s law that says the secretary of state shall set the presidential primary at least seven days ahead of any other state primary. The panel also called for expanding early voting. 

The proposal demanded Mr. Sununu and the leaders of the House and Senate submit letters to the bylaws committee by Thursday signaling their intent to hold the primary on Feb. 6, 2024, and to pass legislation expanding early voting.

The state has until next month to certify the demands have been met.

On Wednesday the state’s congressional delegation — Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan and Reps.-elect Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas, two House members who are waiting to be sworn in — also issued a statement urging the DNC to give the state a little wiggle room.

“Unfortunately, in both Washington and New Hampshire, Republicans have blocked urgently needed voting reforms every step of the way,” they wrote. “Accordingly, the DNC’s demand that New Hampshire change its voting laws to hold an early primary is both unrealistic and unfairly punitive.”

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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