Nikki Haley sweeps first New Hampshire primary votes in Dixville Notch

As Dixville Notch goes, so goes New Hampshire?

That’s what former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley will be hoping after the tiny village near the Canadian border carried on its five-decade-old tradition of midnight voting early Tuesday.

All six eligible voters in the precinct — four registered Republicans and two undeclared voters — pulled the lever for Haley, 52, who is desperate for a shock victory in the Granite State to halt what many observers see as former President Donald Trump’s unstoppable march to the GOP nomination.

Trump, meanwhile, will be hoping that recent primary history repeats itself.

Dixville Notch has not predicted the outcome of a Republican New Hampshire primary since 2008, when then-Sen. John McCain of Arizona won the village, the primary, and the eventual GOP nomination.

Prior to 2008, the last time Dixville Notch foreshadowed a GOP primary outcome was 1992, when then-President George W. Bush received nine of the 14 Republican votes and turned aside a challenge from Pat Buchanan.

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley walks to the stage as she is introduced at a campaign event on Jan. 22, 2024, in Salem, New Hampshire. Getty Images

In 2016, Trump was edged out in Dixville Notch, three votes to two, by Ohio Gov. John Kasich, but went on to win the primary by 19 percentage points over the Buckeye Stater.

The midnight vote in Dixville Notch began with the 1960 general election as the brainchild of Neil Tillotson, the owner of the nearby Balsams resort.

That night also saw a clean sweep at the ballot box, with Republican Richard Nixon taking all nine votes over Democrat John F. Kennedy.

A sign showing the 6 registered voters is seen in the Living Room at the Tillotson House, ready to receive media and voters for the First-in-the-Nation midnight vote at the Balsams Grand Resort in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, on Jan. 22, 2024. AFP via Getty Images

The Balsams closed in 2011, but the midnight vote tradition has carried on — with Tillotson’s former home hosting the festivities on Tuesday.

Dixville Notch is one of three locations in New Hampshire where midnight voting is permitted, but neither of the other two will join the tradition in this primary election.

In the town of Hart’s Location, nestled in the White Mountains two hours’ drive south of Dixville Notch, Moderator Les Schoof opted to forgo midnight voting in favor of keeping the more regular polling hours of 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event in Laconia, New Hampshire., on, Jan. 22, 2024. AP

Schoof cited a number of factors in his decision, according to a statement on the town’s website. Among them were the probability that President Biden’s absence from the Democratic ballot would necessitate additional time to count dozens of write-in votes, and the fact that the town is short a supervisor to assist in counting the ballots and checking voter rolls.

Officials in Hart’s Location — which started midnight voting in 1952 to allow local railroad workers more access to the polls, abandoned the practice 12 years later, and picked it back up in 1996 — left open the possibility of bringing back midnight voting for this year’s general election Nov. 5.

The other location that allows midnight voting, Dixville Notch’s neighbor town of Millsfield, opted not to do midnight voting in deference to residents who would rather not have to set their alarms in order to cast a ballot.

A sign inside the Tillotson House during preparations for midnight voting on Jan, 22, 2024 in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire is seen. Getty Images

“There’s going to be more absentee votes than actual people there counting the votes,” town selectman Shawn Cote told New Hampshire Public Radio last month.

“It was going to be three of us showing up to count absentee ballots and maybe the three of us vote.”


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