For The 2016 Presidential Election Millsfield Wants To Turn On The Wayback Machine

Mar 13, 2014

Millsfield has no town hall so voters meet at the Peace of Heaven bed and breakfast. Photo by Chris Jensen for NHPR.

In the North Country Millsfield wants to regain a spot it held six decades ago: Being the first place to vote in the presidential election.

That goes back to just after midnight in November 1952 when the seven voters of Millsfield, which straddles Route 26 between Errol and the Dixville, cast the first votes in the presidential election, according to Time magazine article.

“Everybody had gathered in the parlor of Mrs. Genevieve N. Annis' 125-year-old house well ahead of time, and the votes were cast, in the light of kerosene lamps, amid a fine, conspiratorial atmosphere,” the article said.

“Mrs. Annis, the town clerk, collected and counted them quickly, recorded one absentee ballot, and, at 12:02 o'clock, proudly reported the nation's first election returns (eight votes for Eisenhower).”

Photo by Chris Jensen for NHPR

In 1960 Dixville Notch and the Balsams Resort took over that tradition.

But the Balsams is closed.

Its future uncertain.

At a town meeting Tuesday Millsfield’s roughly two dozen residents decided they again want to burn the midnight oil, starting with the 2016 presidential primary.

The town’s next step is to send a letter to New Hampshire Secretary of State William Gardner indicating an interest in the change, said Selectman Wayne Urso.

There is no town hall so voting takes place at the Peace of Heaven bed and breakfast.

Hart’s Location also votes at midnight.

Cookies and coffee accompany the ballots. Photo by Chris Jensen for NHPR