NASHUA, N.H. — In a state where Republicans outnumber Democrats, voters in New Hampshire gave its electoral votes to Sen. John Kerry and threw out their GOP governor, Craig Benson, to elect Democrat John Lynch.

Both victories were very close, with the gubernatorial contest being decided by a 2.5 percent margin and the battle for the state’s Electoral College votes by just over 1 percent.

The forces opposed to the GOP right wing put thousands of volunteers out on the streets in this state to identify and mobilize working-class, minority, poor, female and other anti-Bush voters over the last few months. Volunteers reported on Election Day that the Democratic Party in Manchester had 1,500 volunteers when only 300 were expected. Over 300 volunteers showed up in Nashua to work on voter mobilization out of the America Votes offices here. America Votes, a coalition of “organizations working on a broad range of issues including the environment, civil and human rights, women’s rights, choice, education and labor,” was founded in 2003 to reach voters based on the issues and encourage greater voter participation.

Both the GOP and the Democrats put considerable resources into New Hampshire, one of the battleground states, which was won by Bush in the 2000 election by just over 7,000 votes. Besides door-to-door canvassing and direct mail, voters got automated tape-recorded messages.

Voter Sylvia Gale said, “In the last 24 hours, I’ve gotten a lot of calls — two from George Bush, one from Laura Bush, two from Bill Clinton, one from [Boston Red Sox pitcher] Curt Schilling, two from [former New Hampshire Governor] Jeanne Shaheen, and one from [film and television actress] Amy Madigan.”

Rosa Alicea, one of the people visited by canvassers from America Votes, was holding a sign for the Kerry-Edwards ticket on the corner near her home. She told the World she volunteered to relieve a campaign worker that was holding the sign after voting. It was the first time in her life that she had done any campaigning for anyone.

“I don’t want my kids to go to war,” she explained. Joining Alicea were two of her six children, making anti-Bush signs out of notebook paper, and her 16-year-old niece, Crystal Lozada. When asked why she was out there, Lozada simply said, “My dad is in Iraq. I’m angry. There is no need for war.”

Alicea’s neighbor, Angel Giguerre, said, “We’re poor, and not enough poor people vote,” adding that politicians need to pay attention to the issues of low-income families.

Nashua Alderman Marc Plamondon told this reporter that election issues were motivating a lot of new Hispanic voters to come to the polls in his ward. The Latino population in this city has more than doubled since 1990, according to the U.S. Census.

Poll worker Bruce Candelaria noted that two-thirds of the new voters registered on Election Day, many of them Puerto Ricans and other Latin Americans, were registering as Democrats. New Hampshire has same-day voter registration.

The author can be reached at j.a.cruz@comcast.net.

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