POLITICS

Corey Lewandowski Says New Voting Restrictions Will Help Trump Win New Hampshire

The president's former campaign manager is reportedly considering a run for the U.S. Senate in New Hampshire.

Corey Lewandowski, President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, said that new voting restrictions in New Hampshire would help Trump carry the state in the 2020 presidential election. 

Lewandowski made the comments Sunday on WMUR, a station in Manchester, New Hampshire, as he is reportedly mulling a bid for the U.S. Senate in that state. After saying it would be up to Trump whether to support any possible bid, he listed some of the reasons he believed Trump would win in New Hampshire, starting with the new voting restrictions.

“I think in New Hampshire in 2020 President Donald Trump is going to win,” Lewandowski said. “He came very close in 2016. The laws have changed as it relates to same-day voter registration, which means now you actually have to be a registered voter of New Hampshire to vote in our state, which we appreciate, thank you.”

Like every other state except North Dakota, New Hampshire has long mandated that all voters register. Lewandowski appeared to be referring to SB 3, a 2017 law passed along partisan lines, which requires people to provide documentation proving that they are domiciled in the state (under prior law, they could simply sign an affidavit). If a voter tries to register within 30 days of an election without that documentation, they may still vote but must either present that documentation to election officials within 10 days of the election or authorize those officials to investigate their domicile.

A New Hampshire judge blocked the law shortly before last year’s midterm elections, saying it would cause confusion, produce long lines at the polls, and place a discriminatory burden on young voters, people who move a lot and the poor. But the New Hampshire Supreme Court reversed that ruling, allowing the law to stay in effect for the midterms, even as the underlying litigation challenging the law went forward.

In 2016, Trump lost New Hampshire to Hillary Clinton by just 2,736 votes. Democrat Maggie Hassan defeated Republican incumbent Kelly Ayotte for one of the state’s U.S. Senate seat by just 1,017 votes. Trump has blamed his loss on the baseless claim that people were bused in to vote illegally in the state. New Hampshire officials investigated that claim and found no evidence to support it.

Critics say the 2017 law on documenting voters’ addresses was designed to target young voters more likely to support Democratic candidates. 

″[Gov.] Chris Sununu’s voter suppression laws were always about restricting the participation of young people who tend to vote against Republicans like him and Corey Lewandowski,” Ray Buckley, the chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, said in a statement. “Like Trump, it’s clear that Lewandowski and Sununu have no interest in winning free and fair elections but will look for every trick and trap to suppress votes and wrongly influence our election.”

Democrats and civil liberties groups are also challenging a separate new restriction that they say was also designed to make it more burdensome for young people to vote in New Hampshire. The measure, which went into effect July 1, makes it so that anyone who registers to vote in New Hampshire is essentially also declaring themselves a resident of the state. 

That’s a problem, Democrats and civil rights groups say, because New Hampshire sets additional requirements for those who are not merely domiciled in but residents of the state. In particular, they must register their vehicle in the state and obtain a New Hampshire driver’s license. Because getting a driver’s license and registering a car both cost money, critics say the measure is effectively a poll tax. The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the state in federal court over the law and several 2020 Democratic presidential candidates have spoken out against it

New Hampshire Democrats, who took control of the state legislature in the 2018 election, tried to repeal both laws this year but were blocked by Sununu.

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