SOS Scanlan Says He Doesn’t Have Power To Keep Trump Off The Ballot

Print More

Paula Tracy photo

Secretary of State Dave Scanlan is pictured in his office at the State House Wednesday. At left is Senior Deputy Secretary of State Patricia Lovejoy and at right is Deputy Secretary of State Erin Hennessey.


CONCORD – Secretary of State David Scanlan set the filing dates for the New Hampshire Primary as Oct. 11-27 and told reporters he does not have the power under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution to keep former President Donald Trump from being on New Hampshire’s ballot.

“The United States Supreme Court is the authority that could make a determination on a disqualification challenge regarding a presidential candidate that would apply to all states,” Scanlan said at a news conference Wednesday.

“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,” Scanlan said.

In at least a dozen states, efforts to question whether Trump is qualified to run if he “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” have been developing with some legal scholars whether Trump can even run, based on Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

They cite his actions relative to Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack in which Trump supporters attempted to block the certification of Joe Biden as the duly elected president.

Trump has denied that he is criminally responsible for their actions.

And while he faces criminal indictments on insurrection charges related to that, Scanlan dismissed claims he has the power to kick Trump off the ballot.

He added that doing so would impact transparency and voter confidence in the elections.
While a Republican, Scanlan said he was elected by the legislature not as a political candidate and that he is not acting politically.

And he warned that “in a situation where some states permit a name to appear on the ballot and other states disqualify it, chaos, confusion and anger will be the result.”
While he has not set the date for the presidential primary, which is likely in January 2024, Scanlan  said the last date to change a voter’s party affiliation for that election is Oct. 6.

Scanlan said he will announce the date of the Presidential Primary later this fall.

Some voters who think they are registered as independents and appear at the polls to find they did not re-register as independents following their last voting often are angered when they arrive at the polls and find they are no longer registered as independents.
Officials urged voters to check with their town clerks prior to Oct. 6 or go to the website

Attending the press conference was Chris Ager who is chair of the New Hampshire Republican Party.

“I am very happy that the ambiguity over the 14th Amendment has been put to bed and now we can just focus on the retail campaigning and let the people choose who they want to choose,” Ager said.
Ager praised Scanlan for “…the way he articulated the rationale made a lot of sense. It’s a decision based on the law and our constitution and so it is a very well-reasoned, definitive response and that is good for the residents of New Hampshire.”

Ager said it is likely that the Secretary of State’s office will be particularly busy with Republican Presidential candidates on Oct. 12 and 13 as about 11 of the 13 candidates have confirmed to participate in an event in New Hampshire.

Candidates make appointments and provided they are at least 35 years of age, a natural-born United States Citizen, have lived in the country at least 14 years and pay $1,000 or collect 10 signatures from each of the 10 counties can get on the ballot.

“Anyone who had the fourth-grade dream of growing up to be president of the United States can try and make it happen in New Hampshire,” Scanlan said. He said that the state Constitution only requires those and that their name “SHALL” be placed on the ballot.

“There is no mention in New Hampshire state statute that a candidate in the New Hampshire Presidential Primary can be disqualified using the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution referencing insurrection or rebellion,” though Scanlan said other state Constitutions may vary.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that Trump and his supporters wrote Scanlan to keep Trump on the ballot arguing that removing him would “disenfranchise” voters.
In late August, Texas attorney and GOP Presidential candidate John Anthony Castro filed suit in Merrimack County Superior Court claiming that the 14th Amendment should be used to keep Trump off the New Hampshire Primary Ballot.

There has been no ruling in that case.

Scanlan said if it turns out that Trump is somehow disqualified by conviction – and he is facing four sets of separate criminal proceedings – there are remedies to reprint ballots and remove names.

Comments are closed.