- The Washington Times - Monday, February 8, 2016

The first New Hampshire votes are in, and John Kasich and Bernie Sanders have grabbed early leads.

The tiny community of Dixville Notch released first-in-the-state results for the first-in-the-nation primary just after midnight and it was a 3-2 victory for Mr. Kasich over Donald Trump on the Republican side. Among Democrats, Mr. Sanders won a unanimous 4-0 victory over Hillary Clinton.

It was a second straight shutout loss for Mrs. Clinton, who also failed to get a single Dixville Notch vote in the 2008 primary, while then-Sen. Barack Obama took seven votes to John Edwards’s two and Bill Richardson’s one.

Mr. Kasich was quick to crow about his Dixville Notch victory on Twitter.

“Early momentum as @JohnKasich wins GOP vote in Dixville Notch! Let’s keep it going, New Hampshire,” he posted on his official account.

About 20 miles from the border with Canada, Dixville Notch’s nine registered voters are mostly employees of the Balsams Grand Resort Hotel. The hotel is closed for renovations as a ski resort, but has continued to host midnight voting.

Since 1960, for every federal election, Dixville Notch residents have voted at midnight and the community promptly announced the first-in-the-nation results. But ironically, if the Balsams renovations succeed in boosting the local economy, 2016 may be the last year for Dixville Notch’s election status.

Dixville Notch can only do what it does because New Hampshire has a unique state law that lets communities with less than 100 voters open voting at midnight on election day and then close up and announce results as soon as all votes have been cast. If the Balsams becomes a major resort as hoped, the local population could well top 100.

This time around, Dixville Notch had to share the spotlight, as two other tiny northern New Hampshire towns — Hart’s Location and Millsfield — decided to take advantage of the New Hampshire midnight-voting law. All three small towns are within a two-hour drive of the Canadian border.

In Millsfield, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas easily led among Republicans with nine votes to Mr. Trump’s three, and one vote each for six other GOP hopefuls.

Meanwhile, the small no-stoplight town of 29 residents on Route 26 gave Mrs. Clinton a 2-1 edge over Mr. Sanders on the Democratic side.

Millsfield decided to join the midnight-voting party, reviving at least some tradition, though local historians are unsure exactly when it began or ended — the closest USA Today could place it was some time in the 1960s.

Hart’s Location, about 80 miles south of Dixville, revived its midnight voting tradition in 1996. It’s easily the “largest” of the towns, with 41 registered voters, and results were “slower” coming in.

Polls opened elsewhere throughout New Hampshire at 6 a.m.

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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