New Hampshire hamlet casts first US votes

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DIXVILLE NOTCH, Etats-Unis: The US presidential election got under way—on a small scale—with the seven voters of a tiny New Hampshire village who cast the nation’s first ballots at the stroke of midnight.

Dixville Notch has had the honor of launching the voting, symbolically, since 1960.

Clay Smith was the first of the seven residents, including five men and two women, to vote as Tuesday’s long awaited election day began. An eighth person voted by absentee ballot.

The tally was announced in a matter of minutes: the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton beat out her Republican rival Donald Trump, four to two.


Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson won one vote, and there was a write-in vote for Mitt Romney, the Republican who lost to incumbent President Barack Obama in 2012.

Nancy DePalma, a hotel worker voting in the village for the first time, said she backed Clinton.

“I believe she’s a strong person. She’s got the experience. I think she’s going to lead our country in the right direction,” DePalma told Agence France-Presse.

She said she had voted for Bernie Sanders, the progressive senator from neighboring Vermont, in the Democratic primaries.

Another voter, Peter Johnson, who has cast his ballot here since 1982, said there is a populist movement spreading around the world and that no matter who wins the election, Trump “has done well for this country.”

New Hampshire may be one of the smallest US states but Clinton and Trump worked until the last minute to woo voters here. Clinton held a rally in New Hampshire on Sunday, and Trump did so on Monday. They are neck and neck in New Hampshire as they battle for its four electoral votes.

Another of the midnight voters, Ross Vandeursen, said the presidential campaign had been tense and sensationalized.

“I’m not very proud of the state of the campaign we’ve run,” he said.

Leslie Otten, a hotel owner, said the vast majority of people in America were not satisfied with Clinton or Trump.

“That is unfortunate. But we’ll have to vote,” she said.

Two other hamlets in New Hampshire also voted at midnight.

Voting begins in earnest at 6:00 am (1100 GMT) in several states on the East Coast.   AFP

AFP/CC

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