Monday, November 3, 2008

Dixville Notch, NH: Only Hours From Casting Nation's First Ballots

Just after midnight (Eastern) tonight, voters in the tiny New Hampshire village of Dixville Notch will be among the first to cast their ballots on election day itself. Shortly thereafter, their votes will be counted (assuming all eligible voters have been accounted for). The results will be made public immediately, making them the very first real vote tallies to be known.

The tradition of everyone voting at midnight and then having their votes counted immediately is an old one in this far-north hamlet which lies less than 20 miles from the Canadian border. Beginning at least as far back as 1960, Dixville Notch voters have had their fifteen minutes of fame every four years.  It's an overwhelmingly Republican area, so Democrats should not be expecting much from - or reading anything into - the outcome.

In 2004, Dixville Notch had twenty-six registered voters: 13 Republicans, 11 Independents and only two Democrats.  In the Presidential contest that year, Bush defeated Kerry 19 votes to seven, although Kerry went on to win the Granite State by a very narrow margin.

UPDATE: CNN reports that there are currently 20 registered voters in Dixville Notch: five Democrats, four Republicans and 11 Independents. This gives Democrats a slight edge over Republicans among partisan voters for the first time since the village began its early vote counting tradition in 1960. Independents, however, now make up a majority of the hamlet's electorate. Maybe the results later tonight will be more interesting.

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