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New Hampshire hamlet casts first US votes

  • Published at 11:42 am November 8th, 2016
New Hampshire hamlet casts first US votes

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.

Clay Smith was the first of the seven residents, including five men and two women, tovote 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 AFP.

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.

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