After Iowa, it’s on to New Hampshire. The candidates have been battling one another there. Less publicized is a battle among communities for the distinction of location that casts America’s first Presidential ballots.
Dixville Notch is a famous place name in American Presidential politics.
Candidates used to drive to Dixville to win the support of the small but influential voters in the small but influential state. Ronald Reagan stopped at Dixville Notch on Jan. 6, 1976, on his campaign tour of New Hampshire and was presented with campaign balloons made by workers of the town.
For more than 50 years, the 20-some-odd voters of the town of Dixville, N.H., gathered at the Balsams hotel to vote at midnight, the first ballots cast in the nation.
Polls closed by 12:07 a.m., ensuring that the results and the funny dateline would appear the day after primaries and election days in newspapers throughout the country. In a state that has enjoyed an outsize role in the elections simply by sprinting to the voting booths before anyone else, this was peak New Hampshire.
But when the Balsams closed in 2011, it took Dixville with it. There were no more jobs, and now there are no more residents.