Trump and Haley campaign ahead of New Hampshire primary

A board to tally votes inside of the Tillotson House in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire on January 23.
A board to tally votes inside of the Tillotson House in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire on January 23. WMUR

The first votes of the New Hampshire GOP primary have been cast, with all six voters in the tiny town of Dixville Notch backing former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.

“A great start to a great day in New Hampshire,” Haley said in a statement reacting to the vote. “Thank you Dixville Notch!”

Four registered Republican voters and two independents participated in the vote, in which former President Donald Trump, the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination, failed to earn support.

In New Hampshire’s northern tip, Dixville Notch is the first place to declare primary results because voters there cast ballots so early. Its midnight voting tradition dates back to 1960.

As its population has dwindled over the years, Dixville Notch’s hold on the mini-contest has been a success story for local leaders – and a reason to smile for political junkies eager for an early taste of the voting to come.

According to Town Moderator Tom Tillotson, his father worked to get Dixville Notch incorporated specifically so the community could vote and residents would not be forced to travel close to an hour away in the snow to participate in elections.

But he cautioned against thinking the midnight results would be too instructive.

“There’s no magic bullet that comes out of here that tells people what to do or what’s going to happen. Sometimes we are right. Sometimes we are wrong,” Tillotson said ahead of the vote.

The core takeaway, he said, is that people should not shy away from participating in the democratic process.

“If all these people in the wilderness can get up at midnight and go vote, 100% of the town, maybe we should take voting a little more seriously. If we do anything positive, it’s maybe encourage a few extra people to vote,” Tillotson said.

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