A small group of Republican state representatives have signed onto a “termination of the state” document that declares New Hampshire’s government illegitimate and says the November election was void.
In a two-page letter that largely reproduces the U.S. Declaration of Independence, the representatives call Gov. Chris Sununu a “tyrant” and say that it is time to dissolve the entire New Hampshire government.
“We the people, the good Citizens of the State of New Hampshire declare the Nov. 3, 2020 election void for fraud and of no effect leaving no Constitutionally elected body, and further we declare that the statutory “state” and all of its affects are void for fraud,” the letter reads.
Signing onto the letter are Rep. José Cambrils of Loudon; Rep. Anne Copp of Derry; Rep. Raymond Howard Jr. of Alton; Rep. Dave Testerman of Franklin; Rep. Mike Sylvia of Belmont; and Rep. Scott Wallace of Danville.
However, despite calling for the dissolution of state government, none of the representatives appeared to be resigning from their seats in the Legislature as of Monday. A Twitter post from the House Clerk Paul Smith Monday morning said that he had “not received any letters of resignation, pursuant to RSA 14-A:2.”
In an interview Monday, Testerman said he wasn’t resigning, but that the letter was intended as a message that the way Sununu has approached his COVID-19 emergency orders has been unconstitutional. He argued the law passed last year that expanded absentee voting contravened the state constitution.
“I will continue to serve,” Testerman said. “But I don’t really think that we went through a valid election. Because we did things in an unconstitutional way, and we’ve got to quit it.”
The letter represents the latest effort by a group of libertarian-minded Republicans in the House to protest emergency measures taken by Sununu in response to the pandemic. In the past, that campaign included an aborted attempt to impeach Sununu, attempts to override Sununu’s declaration of emergency powers implemented in March, and protests at the State House and outside the governor’s house.
And it dovetails with an ongoing attempt by President Donald Trump to discredit the results of the Nov. 3 election and scrap the outcome, in which Democrat Joe Biden won with 81 million votes.
Throughout the first part of the letter, the signatories reproduce the Declaration of Independence nearly verbatim, swapping in Sununu’s name for the king and “New Hampshire” for the state.
“The ends of government have become perverted, and public liberty is now manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual,” the letter reads. “A Governor whose character is thus marked by every act which may define him a tyrant, is unfit to be the executive of a free people of the State of New Hampshire.”
The letter moves on to appeal to the “Supreme Judge of the world” — another phrase from the Declaration of Independence.
“We … declare that the State of New Hampshire is, and Right ought to be a Free and Independent State as defined by Part I, Bill of Rights, Article VII; that we are Absolved from all allegiance to the statutory ‘state’ of New Hampshire and all political connection between the Citizens of the State of New Hampshire and the ‘state’ is and ought to be totally dissolved; and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.”
In total, 37 people signed the document, including Karen Testerman, a conservative who launched an unsuccessful primary challenge against Sununu earlier this year, and who is married to Dave Testerman.
The letter was sent to Secretary of State’s Office, and marked as received Dec. 21. But whether the letter has any legal effect remains unclear.
In a statement Monday reacting to the letter, Sununu did not respond to the characterization of him as a “tyrant,” but instead focused on the allegations of election fraud.
“In New Hampshire, our elections were conducted with the utmost integrity,” Sununu said. “Recounts were conducted across the State and verified with no results overturned. While some may not like the outcomes, our elections were fair, transparent, and accurate.”