WMUR: Former Missouri secretary of state, Afghanistan war veteran addresses voting, gun control

MANCHESTER, N.H. — In his eighth visit to New Hampshire in the past 13 months, former Missouri Secretary of State and progressive voting rights activist Jason Kander said Tuesday he is not surprised that Gov. Chris Sununu appears to be backtracking on legislation that would require those who vote in the state to be residents of the state.

With House Bills 372 and 1264 pending before the New Hampshire House, Kander, a potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, returned to the Granite State to participate in an evening phone bank opposing the bills, organized by the New Hampshire Campaign for Voting Rights and other progressive groups.

Kander is the founder and president of the nationwide voting rights group Let America Vote, which, he said, will continue its work in New Hampshire this year on behalf of Democratic candidates for governor and the state Legislature. The group last year was involved in the Manchester mayoral race on behalf of Mayor Joyce Craig and in several legislative special elections.

While in the state, Kander, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan as a U.S. Army military intelligence officer, also called for quick action on gun control while saying he has been inspired by the reaction of young people to the high school shootings in Florida last week.

Kander said he attended a weekend conference of the B’nai B’Rith Youth Organization in Orlando, and came away “incredibly hopeful, really moved and inspired.”

“This generation is on a mission, and right now, they are going to make sure that the country has no choice but to pay attention and take action when it comes to saving people’s lives from gun violence,” Kander said.

In a taping of WMUR’s “CloseUP” program to be aired in full at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Kander called for outlawing what he views as military-style weapons.

He also called for stricter background checks for gun purchases.

Kander said he expects Let America Vote to have a presence in New Hampshire on par with its 2017 activities in Virginia, where, he said, the group had 130 full-time volunteers who knocked on 194,000 doors.

“You can expect our interns, volunteers and staff to be very visible and working to, frankly, take out of office people who are making it harder to vote,” he said.

He said Let America Vote will also be involved in state legislative races in New Hampshire, as it was in several special elections last year.

“We’ll be working with folks on the ground to identify exactly where our volunteers ought to be,” he said. “Republicans should count on knowing that the days when you could suppress the vote without a political consequence are over.”

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