Kuster ’78 urges students to vote

by Emma Demers | 10/20/16 12:32am

Student voices in the upcoming election are more important than ever, Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster ’78 said yesterday at a question and answer forum hosted by the College Democrats.

Speaking to a small group of students at the Rockefeller Center, Kuster, a two-term incumbent in the House, stressed the importance of students going out to vote not only for the next president, but also down the ballot. According to Kuster, the results of the New Hampshire Senate election – a race between Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Democrat Gov. Maggie Hassan – will decide which party ultimately controls the Senate.

“New Hampshire has an outsized influence because of the electoral college,” Kuster said, adding that the Hassan-Ayotte Senate race will be the closest in the country.

According to Kuster, the outcome of the Senate race will also decide the fate of Planned Parenthood, which Ayotte is in favor of defunding, as well as the next three Supreme Court Justice appointments. New Hampshire’s elections tend to have tight margins, partially because the swing state hosts the first presidential primary, Kuster said. For this reason, college students can have a real influence on election outcomes. Kuster cited the 2008 presidential election, in which 3,000 students voted for President Barack Obama, as evidence that students in residence in New Hampshire should choose to vote there.

An environmental policy major and the daughter of two New Hampshire politicians, Kuster is not a stranger to contentious politics. Her seat in the House is one of a dozen swing seats, she noted, adding that if she is reelected in November, she will be the first Democrat from her district to be elected to three terms in the House from her district. Kuster’s Republican challenger is former State Representative Jim Lawrence.

“We’re in a good position, but we need voters to vote all the way down the ticket,” Kuster said.

Kuster emphasized that the results of this fall’s election will have a direct effect on students’ lives, particularly issues surrounding women’s rights and college debt.

“It’s critically important that Dartmouth students get out to vote,” she said in an interview with The Dartmouth following the forum. “Their future in terms of job prospects, quality of life, international trade, the Supreme Court – all of these issues that will impact their future will be decided on Nov. 8.”