Dixville Notch's 6 voters prepare to cast their primary ballots at midnight, the 1st in the nation

  • Canadian Press

DIXVILLE NOTCH, N.H. (AP) — The six registered voters in tiny Dixville Notch who were preparing to cast their primary ballots at midnight Tuesday were outnumbered more than 10−to−1 by reporters from every corner of the globe — not to mention by a pile of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.

The New Hampshire resort community has a tradition of first−in−the−nation voting that dates back to 1960, with the results usually announced just a few minutes after midnight.

With such a tiny sample of voters, the results are not typically indicative of how an election will end up. But they do provide for an early curiosity.

In some previous elections, a couple of other tiny New Hampshire towns have also voted at midnight, but this year Dixville Notch is going it alone.

The voting was taking place in a new location, the living room of Tillotson House, with the Balsams Resort undergoing renovations. It made for a congenial setting, with an 11−month−old golden retriever named Maxine greeting media and voters.

Les Otten, the principal owner and developer of the Balsams Resort, said he’s excited to cast his ballot.

“It’s special. It really is,” Otten said. “It’s what ought to happen in every community in the United States, where there is 100% participation, everybody votes. None of the six of us can complain about the outcome of the election, because we’ve participated.”

Otten said he didn’t agree with those saying the New Hampshire primary had fallen flat this year, with President Joe Biden not on the ballot and Republican contender Ron DeSantis withdrawing at the last minute.

“It always does boil down to just a couple of people at the end of the day,” Otten said. “We’ve got two viable candidates on the Republican side.”

Dixville Notch caters to snowmobilers and Nordic skiers in the winter, and golfers and hikers in the summer. For the primary, it had four registered Republicans and two undeclared voters.

Nick Perry, The Associated Press

Photo: AP

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