January 23, 2024 at 7:38 AM EST
The tiny Coos County community of Millsfield was the first to start New Hampshire’s midnight voting tradition. Records show townspeople cast the nation’s first presidential primary ballots at midnight in 1936.
Dixville Notch, right next door, has typically captured most of the national spotlight. But Millsfield and Hart’s Location, which celebrates itself as the smallest town in New Hampshire, have also long participated in midnight voting.
But this year, Cote said Millsfield residents decided to forgo the midnight vote, due in part to an aging population.
Midnight voting is also not taking place in Hart’s Location for the first time since 1996 for New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary, according to Town Moderator Les Schoof and Selectmen Chairman Mark Dindorf.
Said Dindorf, “The challenge has been mounting in terms of the increasing amount of paperwork and reporting required in the aftermath of the past election and to manage the added write-ins was an added challenge. It would be difficult for us to turn around.”
All six votes in Dixville Notch, which continued its midnight voting tradition this year, went to Nikki Haley.
January 23, 2024 at 7:31 AM EST
Scott Maxwell chats with his wife Val Maxwell after the first-in-the-nation midnight vote at the Balsams Resort in Dixville Notch, N.H., on Tuesday.
The first place to vote in the New Hampshire primary was Dixville Notch, a remote resort town just 20 miles south of the Canadian border.
It’s long been one of the small towns that has proudly voted at midnight on primary day, but this year was alone in doing so.
Dixville Notch has six residents, and the same number of registered voters: four Republicans and two independents.
All six voted for Nikki Haley this morning.
“A great start to a great day in New Hampshire,” Haley later said in a statement. “Thank you Dixville Notch!”
Dixville Notch has voted at midnight since 1960, when a resident got the state legislature to approve the township as a standalone voting precinct. That first year, all nine voters unanimously chose Richard Nixon.
The tiny community got outsized attention in the decades that followed, in large part because its results predicted the eventual Republican nominee in every election from 1968 to 2012.
That streak was broken in 2016, when residents voted 3-2 for former Ohio Gov. John Kasich over Trump.
Now, it’s seen as more of a curiosity than a predictor. The Associated Press reports that voters were outnumbered more than 10 to 1 by reporters.
January 23, 2024 at 7:28 AM EST
Jules and Nancy Stollak talk with NHPR producer Jackie Harris.
It’s finally primary day in New Hampshire, but for many Granite State voters, a looming concern is the next general election, and the possibility that the 2024 presidential race will boil down to a repeat of the last one: A choice between President Biden and former President Trump.
NHPR recently spoke to voters from around the state – here’s what some of them had to say:
January 23, 2024 at 7:20 AM EST
A DeSantis campaign bus is parked outside a hotel in Manchester, N.H., on Sunday.
In short, not much.
The Florida governor didn’t focus much time or attention on New Hampshire, especially in the last few months. He went all in on Iowa. Three outside groups supporting him and DeSantis’ campaign poured in more than $35 million in campaign ads combined there — and finished a distant second place to Donald Trump.
By comparison, Never Back Down, one of the super PACs that was supporting DeSantis, spent $8 million on ads in New Hampshire, but $0 since Dec. 3.
DeSantis was pulling in about 5% of the vote in an average of the polls. Those voters have to go somewhere, but, according to a Suffolk University/NBC10 Boston/Boston Globe tracking poll, after DeSantis dropped out, Trump and Haley essentially split his support.
January 23, 2024 at 7:14 AM EST
Bill Clinton campaigns at an event inside the home of Martin and Caroline Gross in Concord in 1991 during his successful campaign for the presidency.
Long before the Democratic National Committee announced plans in December 2022 to boot New Hampshire from the front of the line, the state’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary has been under threat or deemed over the hill. The Associated Press called it “little more than a fairy tale.”
Gone may seem the days when presidential hopefuls had local campaign offices, staff in every county, or a whole lot of yard signs. They aren’t looking for volunteers to stuff envelopes and make phone calls like they once did. But they are visiting the state. A lot of their voter outreach is now via social media, where the conversation is from a distance and goes in one direction.
NHPR explored the history, impact and future of the N.H. Presidential Primary in our podcast ‘Stranglehold.’ Click here to check it out.
January 23, 2024 at 7:05 AM EST
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu joins supporters demonstrating at a Joe Biden Write-In Rally in Manchester, N.H., on Saturday.
While much of the focus is on the Republican primary race, a lot is going on with Democrats.
The Democratic ballot includes 21 people, including Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., and self-help author Marianne Williamson. Others include artist Paperboy Love Prince, satirical activist Vermin Supreme and President Boddie.
President Biden, however, is not on the ballot.
New Hampshire’s primary won’t be counted in this year’s Democratic primary, because the Democratic Party demoted it in favor of South Carolina (which Biden won in 2020).
Because New Hampshire has a state law requiring it to hold the country’s first primary — which it has done for more than a century — it’s still voting ahead of South Carolina’s Feb. 3 primary.
But its delegates won’t be seated at the Democratic convention in the summer, and anyone who puts their name on the state ballot could face sanctions from the national party.
Still, it puts Biden in a tough spot — losing the New Hampshire primary would be embarrassing, to say the least. So New Hampshire’s Democratic establishment is rallying behind a write-in campaign for Biden.
More than a thousand Democratic volunteers signed up to get the word out to family and friends, NPR’s Tamara Keith reports. Their mission is two-fold: to get Democrats to vote in the first place (since many may think there’s no reason to show up), and to write Biden’s name on the ballot.
Read more here about the Democrats’ unusual New Hampshire primary.
By NHPR Staff
January 23, 2024 at 7:02 AM EST
What are we voting for?
In most places, you’ll only be able to vote for president, not any state or local offices. The election on Jan. 23 will help to decide who Democrats and Republicans nominate for president in the general election in November.
Who can vote in New Hampshire?
New Hampshire voters must meet four basic requirements to cast a ballot here:
You must be at least 18 years old at the time of the election.
You must be a U.S. citizen.
You must be who you say you are when registering to vote.
You must live in New Hampshire and consider it your home for voting purposes. (Here’s more information on how the state views voter residency.)
Where do I vote?
If you plan to vote in-person on Election Day, you can find your local polling place here. For more information about your local polling hours or locations, visit the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s website, or contact your local clerk directly.
January 23, 2024 at 6:50 AM EST
Campaign signs for Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Nikki Haley stand next to a sign asking voters to write in President Biden in Loudon, N.H.
New Hampshire holds the country’s first primary election today, just over a week after the Iowa caucuses. Now the GOP field has shrunk, the Democratic ballot is controversial and the stakes remain high.
NPR will bring you live coverage of the primary here on this live blog all day and in radio special coverage starting at 7 p.m. ET. Stick with us for the latest news and analysis from reporters in New Hampshire, D.C. and beyond.
In the meantime, here’s what you need to know:
Time: According to the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s office, all polling places must be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET. Some polls extend their hours both early and late, but all polls will close by 8 p.m. ET.
Location: There are 221 towns in the state of New Hampshire, and they each set their own time to begin voting. Some smaller towns, like Dixville Notch (pop: 5), famously start voting at midnight on primary day.
Delegates: There are 22 Republican delegates at stake or less than 1% of the total number of delegates to the Republican National Convention. Delegates are assigned as follows — 13 proportionally based on the statewide vote as long as a candidate gets at least 10%; six proportionally based on how the candidates do in each of the state’s two congressional districts as long as a candidate reaches 10% in that district; and the other three are RNC members from the state. There are no Democratic delegates on the line because of a rift between the national and state parties over New Hampshire’s date in the primary calendar.
Candidates: There are more than 20 candidates on both the Democratic and Republican ballots. At this point, there are just two leading Republican candidates: Former President Donald Trump and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. President Biden is running as an incumbent, but is not on the ballot (because of that rift) — though Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips is. There’s a huge push for Democratic voters to show up anyway and write in Biden’s name.
Voters: New Hampshire’s primary is run by the state — as opposed to the parties — and allows independents (aka undeclared voters) to cast a ballot in either the Republican or Democratic primary. Undeclared voters make up almost 40% of the state’s registered voters.
Turnout: Secretary of State David Scanlan is predicting a record turnout of 322,000 for the GOP primary. The Republican turnout record is 282,979 set in 2016. New Hampshire has traditionally had one of the highest participation rates in the country.