Midterm Voting a Drastic Contrast to Presidential Race in Dixville Notchhttp://TheBalsams.com/blog/?p=3701
Dixville Notch voting official Amber Mills says she’s had quite a few media inquiries over the years about something that doesn’t happen: Midnight voting during the midterm elections.
What’s that you say? Midnight voting *does* happen at Dixville Notch? Well, yes you’re right…it happens, but only during presidential contests. Voting during the midterms is an infinitely more low-key affair. In fact, you could probably say there is more atmospheric difference between midterm and general elections here…than anywhere else in the country.
Closed for annual winterization, the town of Dixville’s main attraction has just 14 registered voters as of late October. The low numbers are part of every general election here, but midterm and presidential elections have little else in common with each other in this breathtaking corner of New Hampshire.
The Balsams Grand Resort is the heart of Dixville Notch’s tiny resident population; during presidential elections voting occurs during the first seconds of election day. It happens in the plush hotel’s “Ballot Room.” The town’s results are often the first to be reported in America.
But midterm elections here are much more down to earth. Voters drop by what’s affectionately known as “The Factory,” a rubber glove & balloon facility that has been on resort grounds for decades.
“It’s kind of like a tradition,” says Mills, whose town title is Supervisor of the Checklist. “It’s set up with a nice big round table and chairs and…it’s just an easy, informal type of place where we can meet.” Mills says sometimes residents will meet there the day before to elect new people for town offices. “We have everything we need right there.”
“There are a lot of people that are interested in what we do. We get a lot of questions, a lot of people stopping by throughout the foliage season, leading up to the elections. Not candidates like there would be in their regular (presidential) year. There’s just our guests and people who have an interest in what happens at The Balsams stopping by and asking questions and wondering where we do voting and so forth. A lot of people are not familiar with the fact that we do not do it at midnight. There’s no reason for us to do it at midnight, because the world isn’t watching us!”
Contrast this with the massive crush of top-name press that descends on this New Hampshire Resort every four years. Starting around September 1 during presidential election years, candidates and their media entourages begin to descend…culminating with a one or two day crush before election day. During those final days busloads full of reporters spew into the tiny mountain town. Not so during these more minor general elections.
“We don’t spend all these days leading up to elections with candidates coming in and wanting to speak to us and the press being here,” continues Mills. “We don’t have to pick up the phone and do the surveys. If we don’t do them during a regular year we start getting asked questions like ‘how come?’ or which way we’re leaning.”
Mills says this year polls in Dixville will open at 11 a.m. and close at 3 p.m. on November 2, with an expected non-absentee turn out of…