Midnight vote in tiny New Hampshire town kicks off US presidential elections

Xinhua | 2016-11-08 13:21
Midnight vote in tiny New Hampshire town kicks off US presidential elections

A voter (L) casts his ballot in the US presidential election at midnight in tiny Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, November 8, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]

DIXVILLE NOTCH, United States - Six voters in Dixville Notch, a tiny town in the northeast of US state of New Hampshire, cast their ballots just after midnight on Tuesday, kicking off the quadrennial presidential elections in the country.

All the six voters gathered at a polling station shortly after 2300 EST (0400 GMT) on Monday for lottery drawing, which would choose the first voter.

Clay Smith, 30, the first to vote in the presidential elections, told Xinhua that it was his first time to be the first to vote. "This is just another night," a calm Smith said of his new experience.

The first-in-the-nation voting took place in the town despite major renovations underway at the now-crumbling Balsams Grand Resort Hotel, the traditional balloting place, which was closed in 2011.

The other parts of the United States will mostly begin the voting on Tuesday morning.

The whole voting process lasted about 10 seconds.

A makeshift polling station was set up this year in the hotel builder's lakeside house, which was erected more than 100 years ago, just a few hundred meters away from the hotel. The voting station for the 2012 elections was moved to a nearby ski lodge, a grey building, at the foot of snow-capped mountains in the ski resort.

In the living room of the red-roofed wooden house, a wood ballot box with a brass lock was put on a table near a sign which says: "Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, the first in the nation," meaning that the tiny town is the first to vote in the country's day-long polling.

Around the corner, four ballot booths were erected for the voters to mark their ballots before casting them.

Tom Tillotson, whose father, Neil Tillotson, started the midnight voting tradition in the small town in 1960 and who moderated the voting on Tuesday, told Xinhua that the ballot booths -- just small cubicles -- were not enough for all the six voters and two of them had to mark their ballots at a writing desk nearby.

Tom Tillotson, moderator of the 2012 elections which saw 10 voters from the small town, said that his son Tanner Tillotson who was the first to cast his ballot in the 2012 presidential elections, is now working in Spain and he registered himself as an absentee voter this year.

Two of the 2012 voters here already moved to the neighboring state of Maine, he said.

"We have to carry on the tradition," said Tillotson. He said he was a little bit sad about the shrink of voters in the tiny town.

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