Among the symmetrically mown lawns and grand homes of suburban New Hampshire, Garrett Muscatel was knocking on doors to talk about a subject that took many by surprise: voter suppression. At just 20 years old, this student at Dartmouth College is vying to become the youngest member of the state’s 400-person house of representatives in November’s midterm elections. But, so he told potential voters in this precinct, what is at stake was not just the beginning of his political career but the future of democracy in the Granite state. “Hi, my name is Garrett,” he told one woman in her 60s, tending to her barking dog. “I’m a student here at Dartmouth and I’m running for office. Did you know much about laws Republicans have passed that make it harder for people like me to vote?” She hadn’t heard much. But agreed that turning up to vote, even in a heavily Democratic precinct like this one, was important in the Trump era.
The swing state of New Hampshire is known for its first in-the-country presidential primaries and high turnout due to its same-day voter registration law. But over the past two years, since the 2016 election ushered in a Republican-controlled state government, the state has quietly become a major battlefield in the fight over voting rights in America.
Shortly after winning the presidential election, Donald Trump reportedlyclaimed, without evidence, that he lost New Hampshire due to the “bussing in” of “thousands” of out-of-state voters. Kris Kobach – the chair of Trump’s short-lived voter fraud commission and one of the principal architects of modern day voter suppression – has also made similarly outlandish and false claims.