In sweaters, knit hats, gloves and mittens, they came. They came in service of democracy and freedom; they came to boost tourism and media attention to worked-over New England towns that have seen better days. They came to exercise their God-given constitutional right to vote for a presidential candidate and, in theory, to be the “first” in the nation to do so. They came of a dark, inevitably frozen January evening. And they came at midnight, braving the beasts that roam the Northern wilderness to make their marks on ballots — and leave their mark on history. The results of New Hampshire midnight voting are in — and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) have won big, each taking two of three small Granite State districts that, combined, measured the opinions of 65 voters. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) each logged a victory as well. All told, Sanders won the support of 17 voters and Clinton, nine. On the Republican side, Cruz, Kasich and Donald Trump each had nine votes total. “We’re a pretty small town in an out of the way place in mountains, and live fairly quiet lives most of the time,” Mark Dindorf, a selectman from Hart’s Location, said in a telephone interview with The Washington Post shortly after midnight. “It’s interesting that we attract this degree of attention every four years.”
Though Dixville Notch, an unincorporated town about 20 miles from the Canadian border, gets more media play, Dindorf said Hart’s Location was the first New Hampshire town to experiment with “first in the nation” status, reporting the results of the 1948 primary as early as 7 a.m. Just after midnight Tuesday, Sanders defeated Clinton there 12-7, and Kasich bested Trump 5-4.
For Hart’s Location, alas, the glory was fleeting. “We’ll soon drift back into relative obscurity,” Dindorf said.
Meanwhile, in Dixville Notch, live CNN coverage documented Sanders’s thrashing of Clinton, 4-0. Kasich edged out Trump, 3-2. Vote totals were written with Sharpies on poster board.