There has long been a fight in New Hampshire on whether you should be a resident of New Hampshire to vote in New Hampshire. That is not a typo. Democrat New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner labels it “drive-by voting.” As Secretary Gardner has often stated on efforts to fix this problem legislatively:
“The bill is an attempt to prevent ‘drive-by’ voting ... you can’t just drive into the state, vote and leave,” Secretary of State Bill Gardner said.
One of the Representatives who opposed those efforts was New Hampshire State Rep. Garrett Muscatel.
Muscatel was also one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit that challenged Senate Bill 3, a state law that tightened requirements for establishing New Hampshire residency and the right to vote.
Muscatel is from California and was going to college at Dartmouth. His connection to New Hampshire, other than attending school and living in the Dartmouth dorms, is questionable.
As WMUR reported May 29, Muscatel lived in a Dartmouth dormitory until the college closed its dorms in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He will attend Stanford University Law School in the fall, according to an announcement by the institution. That announcement described him as being “from” Thousand Oaks, California.
He has also enrolled to go to law school in California at Stanford University. Yet he wanted to continue to vote in New Hampshire:
Muscatel had initially told WMUR on May 29 that he would “continue to be a New Hampshire resident” through the end of his term and criticized the New Hampshire GOP for “attacking college students with spurious accusations."
Because Muscatel is a high-profile elected representative, he was forced to resign as it is very apparent that he is a California resident. Other than being an elected official, Muscatel’s case is not unique. It is part of the problem that led Democrat Secretary of State Bill Gardner to label this sort of activity “drive-by voting,” although it is allegedly done more often by residents of Massachusetts than California. The reason for this is New Hampshire is a swing state. A California or Massachusetts resident vote can swing an election much easier in the purple New Hampshire than the very blue California or Massachusetts.
To be clear, students absolutely have the right to vote where they reside and should be encouraged to do so. But students who live in another state should not be able to vote in state where they have no connection other than attending classes.