Kander says N.H. a ‘poster child’ in battle over voting rights

Progressive voting rights activist and potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Jason Kander says New Hampshire has become the symbol of the ever-evolving fight over attempts to tighten state voter eligibility laws.

“It’s certainly the poster child for this new and I would say deviously creative form of voter suppression that is targeted directly at younger people,” said the former Missouri secretary of state and founder of the voting rights group Let America Vote.

Kander made his comments Tuesday in an interview with the Monitor and WKXL radio in Concord before taking part in an evening phone bank opposing a new state law that tightens the state’s voter eligibility rules and a current bill that would require those who vote in New Hampshire be residents.

“I’m somebody who was willing to put their life on the line for the rights and the freedoms that our nation has to offer,” said Kander, a U.S. Army veteran who served in the war in Afghanistan.

“I volunteered for the Army. I volunteered to go to Afghanistan. And the idea that after coming home many years later that the president of the United States and state legislators and some governors around the country would try to take those rights away, I’m just not okay with that. And that’s a big part of what motivates me here,” he added.

Kander narrowly lost the 2016 U.S. Senate race in Missouri to Republican incumbent Roy Blunt, outperforming Hillary Clinton in the state by 15 percentage points. Nowadays, Kander is mentioned as a possible 2020 White House contender.

And his eighth trip to the first-in-the-nation primary state over the past year only fuels such speculation.

“Obviously, people keep asking me about running, and that makes me think about it,” Kander told the Monitor.

He said “I’ll consider my options” after the 2018 elections.

But he deflected any other discussion about a possible presidential run, saying “anybody who wants to talk about 2020, we all probably better remember that we got a whole bunch of important work to do in 2018 and that’s why all my focus is there.”

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