The "first-in-the-nation" primary takes place in New Hampshire in less than 24 hours — and so begins the great chipping away of presidential hopefuls over the next six months until the Democratic and Republican National Committees each put forth their party's top candidates. And, while it may seem like there are only a handful of candidates really up for consideration, New Hampshire's primary ballots are much more crowded than you might think. There are currently 28 candidates on the Democratic ticket and 30 candidates on the Republican ticket for Tuesday's primary. With all these choices following on the heels of the Iowa caucuses, just how are votes counted in the New Hampshire primary? The votes are tallied the old-fashioned way.
The New Hampshire presidential primary celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, and thanks to the state's constitution, maintains its "first-in-the-nation" status as the first primary of the presidential election cycle. New Hampshire's proportional delegate system means that delegates are awarded based on what percentage of the vote each candidate receives. Polls must be open by 11 a.m. Eastern on Tuesday, but for three cities — Dixville Notch, Hart's Location and Millsfield — voters will cast their ballots just after midnight Tuesday morning.
Proportional delegation means that it's more advantageous for candidates to campaign to secure whatever delegates they can get. As New Hampshire is such a small state, Granite Staters experience a far more intimate level of one-on-one campaigning by the candidates — something rarely experienced in larger states. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders traversed the Granite State on Monday in last-minute pushes to further narrow the close gap between the two Democratic candidates.
Clinton dropped by breakfast at Chez Vachon in Manchester Monday morning:
Meanwhile, Sanders continued to draw enthusiastic millennials at a campaign rally in Portsmouth on Sunday night:
Meanwhile, GOP candidates including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, and media personality Donald Trump continued campaigning hard with New Hampshire voters on Monday in a crowded Republican field. According to the latest CNN poll, Trump leads in the New Hampshire polls with Rubio and Cruz neck-and-neck for second place.
Trump posed for pictures at a campaign rally in Holderness:
Rubio signed an eager supporter's campaign sign at a Super Bowl party in Manchester Sunday night:
Cruz talked with voters at a Mexican restaurant in Keene:
One interesting change to this year's primary is the recent enactment of New Hampshire's voter identification law: voters will now be required to present a photo I.D. in order to vote on Tuesday. It will be interesting to see if the new voter I.D. law will impact voter turnout — political scientists at the University of California, San Diego argued that voter I.D. laws impact voter turnout in a recently released working paper.
The 100th New Hampshire primary will take place on Tuesday, when voters will have to wait to find out which candidate got how many votes until polls will officially close at 8 p.m.