Bill Gardner blasts Pelosi, NH Congressional delegation

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New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner. Photo/Andrew Sylvia

CONCORD, N.H. – On Tuesday afternoon, New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner criticized U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for provisions within a piece of pending legislation he says could nullify parts of New Hampshire’s constitution.

In a statement, Gardner criticized portions of H.R. 1, also known as the For the People Act, a sweeping election reform bill that passed the House earlier in March. In particular, Gardner expressed ire toward allowing election results to be announced later than the night of elections and primaries, required no-excuse absentee voting, early voting provisions, and the acceptance of ballots after election day.

“This egregious over-reach of federal authority that flagrantly ignores or diminishes the provisions of our state constitution is wrong. The simplicity of New Hampshire elections will be gone,” said Gardner in the statement. “If we let Washington take away these and other articles in our constitution, they can do other damage to our state, and could put our presidential primary in a perilous position.”

The New Hampshire Secretary of State’s Office could not be reached by phone on Tuesday afternoon for further comment.

Gardner also specifically called out Pelosi and New Hampshire’s Congressional delegation in the statement, referencing a moment in 1983 where she tried to ask Gardner to allow California to have the First in the Nation Primary in 1984 with no luck.

Manchester Ink Link reached out to Pelosi’s office for comment.

Just before the passage of H.R. 1, Pelosi praised the legislation at conference of assembled reporters in Washington.

“H.R. 1 restores the people’s faith that government works for the public interest, the people’s interests, not the special interests,” she said.

Manchester Ink Link has also reached out to offices of U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Congressman Chris Pappas (D-NH) for comment regarding Gardner’s remarks.

Full text of H.R. 1 can be seen here.

UPDATE – 6:01 p.m. – Congressman Pappas has provided the following statement regarding Gardner’s statement.

The primary calendar is set by the political parties, not federal legislation, and I will always support New Hampshire’s First-in-the-Nation Primary. H.R. 1 is a bill that is focused on making it easier to vote, ending partisan gerrymandering, stopping the influence of big money in elections, and cracking down on corruption. Democracy in New Hampshire and across the country is made stronger when everyone can participate. The For The People Act will do that by elevating to the national level many of the lessons and best practices we’ve used here in New Hampshire for years.

UPDATE – 6:48 p.m. – Senator Hassan has provided the following statement regarding Gardner’s statement.

It is deeply destructive that corporate special interests can spend limitless sums to influence our politics without even basic transparency. The For the People Act takes long overdue steps to root out dark money in politics, take on corruption, and ensure that the government works on behalf of Granite Staters, not corporate special interests.

UPDATE – 8:03 p.m. – Senator Shaheen has provided the following statement regarding Gardner’s statement.

“I believe the For the People Act will deliver much-needed campaign finance and ethics reform, expanding voting rights for Granite Staters and Americans across the country,” said Senator Shaheen. “I am committed to strengthening our democratic processes, and the For the People Act is an important vehicle to limit the influence of special interests in politics and bolster widely-supported voting protections.”