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Midnight Vote In Dixville Notch Starts Election 2016 With Drama

November 7, 2016

There is something so politically romantic about the story that plays out every four years in Dixville, New Hampshire.

In Dixville Notch Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump four votes to two. Libertarian Gary Johnson received one vote, and Mitt Romney received a surprise write-in ballot.

Hart’s Location began midnight voting in 1948, though it gave it up for many years starting in 1964. A state law allows any small town with fewer than 100 voters to open polls at midnight and close them as soon as all registered voters have cast ballots.

Dixville was always too small to be recognized as an actual town–but with politicos like me the place is legend.  This is where midnight voters, the 20-some-odd folks who gather at the Balsams to cast the first ballots in the nation, makes for one of those American moments.  So many things change and get lost in the country for the new and different–and I am here to applaud the tried and true from this small location in the Northeast.

When I was working in Door County I recall getting the morning newspapers and reading about the amusing dateline concerning the folks who make a short trek to start the voting process on Election Day.

It’s probably not worth thinking too hard about what good the midnight vote has really done for Dixville. That the town has vanished is enough proof that being the “most important” voters in the nation isn’t all that valuable. But maybe that’s exactly why the vote won’t disappear without a fight: This area has had everything else taken away from it; they would at least like to hold on to their history.

And that is why I love this place.  Why it is a truly romantic place for those who still treasure true slices of Americana.

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