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Swarming the Polls

By Juliet Eilperin
NASHUA, N.H. -- If anyone needed an indication of whether New Hampshire turnout is up this year, all they had to do is observe the line outside Ward 1's doors at 5:45 a.m., 15 minutes before the polls opened here.

"There were fifty-seven people in line," said Pat Chadwick, the ward's moderator, who runs the polls on Election Day. "It's very high compared to past years."

Ward 1, Nashua's biggest polling station, has 6,005 registered voters. Or it did until today -- by mid-morning another 88 voters had registered. In the first 15 minutes alone, 106 voters managed to cast their ballots, and by 10:25 a.m. a total of 1,300 had voted, more than a fifth of the ward's total registrants.

Chadwick's only complaint? The entourages of GOP presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney and John McCain, who both stopped by this morning, kept some voters from casting their ballots, as did sign-carrying supporters from an array of campaigns since they took up crucial parking spaces.

"There's nothing wrong with coming here and carrying a sign," said Chadwick, an elected official. "They're not here voting and they're taking the spot of a voter. That's not great because it's impeding on the process."

But Chadwick took comfort in the fact that several voters who couldn't get into the polls early this morning had returned a few hours later. "They're coming back," she said.

By Washington Post editors  |  January 8, 2008; 12:33 PM ET
 
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Comments

As a matter of information, McCain's numbers among independents vs. Romney were the same as his numbers among Republicans in most of the survey research made public. Ergo, the balance will not significantly affect the outcome.

Posted by: forces | January 8, 2008 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Curiously, if Obama takes most of the independent voters away from McCain, that HELPS Romney : )

Posted by: JakeD | January 8, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

It looks like NH is in some "perfect political storm" with everything breaking Obama's way. It looks like a major landslide victory for Barack. God bless him.

Posted by: zb95 | January 8, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

If they are running out of Dem ballots that means a huge independent vote which means huge numbers for Obama. The final numbers may be shocking tonight.

Posted by: zb95 | January 8, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Drudge is reporting that precincts are running out of Democratic ballots -- are Independents breaking hard for Obama -- that wouldn't be good for either McCain or Clinton. Maybe Romney can still win this one?

Posted by: JakeD | January 8, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

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