Two small rural communities in New Hampshire cast their ballots just after midnight on Tuesday – and, thanks to a quirk in state election law, they’ve also tallied the vote and released the results. And the very first official Election Day voter is a Republican casting his ballot for Biden.
All five voters in Dixville Notch chose Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden over President Donald Trump.
The first ballot was cast by lifelong Republican Les Otten, who voted for Biden and explained his decision in a video:
Biden’s sweep was the first in 60 years, since Richard Nixon won all nine votes cast over eventual winner John F. Kennedy in 1960.
In 2016, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton won four votes versus two for Trump, one for Libertarian Gary Johnson and a write-in vote for Mitt Romney.
The small community of Millsfield finished its vote shortly after Dixville Notch, with Trump having better luck: He beat Biden 16-5. Trump also received 16 votes there in 2016, versus 5 for Clinton.
A third community, Hart’s Location, also typically holds a midnight vote but canceled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Mark Dindorf, chairman of the Hart’s Location Board of Selectmen, told WMUR it was for the health and safety of the 48 voters as well as poll workers.
“It’s a hard thing to let go of,” he lamented.
They will cast their ballots from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. instead.
Biden is expected to easily win New Hampshire, with FiveThirtyEight’s polling average giving him an 11.1-percentage-point lead over Trump in the Granite State.
New Hampshire law allows for communities with fewer than 100 people to open their polls at midnight and close when everyone has cast a ballot.
In the past, they were the self-described “first in the nation” voters, a designation that’s been antiquated by the rise of early voting.
This year, for example, about 100 million others have already cast ballots around the nation.