The votes in Dixville Notch. Picture: @DixvilleVote/Twitter
The votes in Dixville Notch. Picture: @DixvilleVote/Twitter

Unanimous result in first US ballot

The first Election Day votes have been counted after the clocked ticked past midnight on the East Coast of the United States.

In the tiny township of Dixville Notch, New Hampshire on the US-Canada border, Les Otten was the first to cast his vote.

The polling tradition - a national spectacle - began in 1960 in the wood-panelled ballot room of The Balsams Resort.

This year, all five midnight votes went to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and there were none for Donald Trump and Mike Pence.

 

 

"I'm a lifelong Republican, voting for Joe Biden for President," Mr Otten said in a video posted to Twitter.

"I don't agree with him on a lot of issues but I believe it's time to find what unites us, not what divides us.

"It's time to rebuild the heart of what makes us a great country. That starts with electing leaders of character who are truthful and will put the country's welfare ahead of all else, and who will show respect for all people regardless of their gender, their race, their religion or their political beliefs."

Mr Otten, a developer, was unsuccessful in his bid to become the Republican governor of Maine in 2010 when his run ended in the primary.

He moved to Dixville Notch after its voting tradition was jeopardised by the departure of one resident.

"The difficulty with such a small population is that you need at least five people in order to fill the positions required to hold an election," Nicholas Chong Yen from the New Hampshire Attorney-General's Office told Fox News in February.

"They were missing one of those critical election officials necessary to hold an election, specifically this upcoming presidential primary."

The Election Day process takes less than five minutes from when the polls close to when the votes are counted and then announced.

"I think it's democracy as the founding fathers envisioned it and that's exciting," another one of the five voters, Joseph Casey, told Fox News.

The system has been compared to Pennsylvania's groundhog - "not necessarily predictive".

In 2016, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton won four of eight resident votes while Donald Trump claimed two, Libertarian Gary Johnson got one vote and there was a write-in for Mitt Romney.

The Boston Globe reported the town hit its peak in 1988 with 38 votes.

Dixville Notch is usually among three small towns to vote at midnight and while Millsfield, with 22 registered voters, also went to the polls as planned, the 48 voters from Hart's Location will this year make their picks between 11am and 7pm on Tuesday due to COVID-19 concerns.

However, the votes out of Millsfield have since trickled in and tell a different story with 16 for Mr Trump and five for Mr Biden.

Forbes political reporter Andrew Solender noted this was still a swing to the Democrats when compared to the votes out of each town in 2016.

New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner on Monday predicted at least 800,000 ballots would be cast - topping the record set in 2016 of 755,850.

"I wouldn't be shocked if we had tens of thousands more than that, but I'm being conservative," he said, according to the Associated Press.

Originally published as Unanimous result in first US ballot


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