Logo   First in the Nation: Dixville Notch NH
At midnight on election day, Dixville Notch NH votes. At 12:05 am, the results are announced.




Dixville Notch is among New Hampshire's smallest unincorporated settlements, with only a handful registered voters, virtually all of whom once lived and worked at The Balsams Grand Resort Hotel. resort.

This grand 19th-century style resort controlled most of the land around Dixville Notch and was the reason anyone lived in Dixville Notch at all. With the resort's closing in 2011, even fewer people live here.

When the resort was still thriving, each election day (or, rather, on the Monday night before the Tuesday election day) since 1952 all of Dixville Notch's registered voters had assembled in the wood-panelled Ballot Room of the hotel. At precisely 12 am (midnight), the polls open, the voters cast their secret ballots, the election officials tabulate the tally, and at 12:05 am the results are announced to the voters, the state and the nation.

How is this allowable? Why was Dixville Notch always first to announce its election results?

It's not just because the polls open as early as possible on election day (12 midnight), it's because the polls are allowed to close so early.

By law, polling places must remain open until all registered voters have had the opportunity to cast their ballots. This usually means that polls remain open all day and even well into the evening, just to assure that no voter is denied the chance to vote.

But in Dixville Notch, by mutual accord, 100% of the registered voters come to the Ballot Room in The Balsams at midnight. No registered voter is absent or unaccounted for, so the election officials can be certain that all have their opportunity to vote.

Voters everywhere are interested in learning the results of the election in various cities, towns and states, the better to guess who will be elected.

Some people believe that announcing election results before the polls close may be detrimental to the election process, as the results may affect the voting behavior of voters who have not yet gone to the polls.

With fewer than several dozen voters, Dixville Notch's election results are unlikely to influence the voting behavior of others, and in fact a review of Dixville's election results reveals that its results were usually not the same as those of the state or the nation.

In other words, more often than not, the favorite candidate in Dixville Notch does not win the election!

In recent years, there are so few registered voters in Dixville Notch that they may not be able to fill all of the required town election officer positions. If a full compliment of officers is not in place, an election cannot be held.

Redevelopment of The Balsams is under way, and efforts are being made to appoint officials and to make a space available for the 2016 presidential election. If it is, the voters of Dixville Notch may again come togther, cast their ballots, immediately announce the results to the world, then head off to the bar to await the electoral latecomers in the rest of the USA.

—by Tom Brosnahan

Dixville Notch NH

Balsams Grand Resort Hotel

The Balsams Skiing

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Paris Girls Secret Society, the new novel by Tom Brosnahan


Ballot Room, Dixville Notch NH

Above, registered voter David Lindelow, General Manager of The Balsams Grand Resort Hotel, in the Ballot Room some years ago.

Below, The Balsams Grand Resort Hotel.

Dixville Notch NH



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