Voting ‘running very smoothly,’ says New Hampshire secretary of state

Bill Joyce, Stark moderator enters a ballot into the voting box during New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation U.S. presidential primary election at the Stark Volunteer Fire Department in Stark, New Hampshire, U.S., January 23, 2024. 

Faith Ninivaggi | Reuters

As of midday, voting in the primary was proceeding without major issues, New Hampshire Secretary of State David Scanlan said in an interview with MSNBC.

“Everything is running very smoothly,” Scanlan said.

Any problems that have occurred at polling places have been addressed quickly, he said.

Scanlan said it was too early to know if turnout would exceed his prediction, of about 320,000 Republican primary voters, and 80,000 Democratic ballots.

“We will have the results of both the Republican primary and the Democratic primary before the night is over,” he added.

– Dan Mangan

Donald Trump promises more corporate tax cuts if elected president

Former U.S. President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets supporters as makes a visit to a polling station on election day in the New Hampshire presidential primary in Londonderry, New Hampshire, U.S., January 23, 2024. 

Mike Segar | Reuters

Donald Trump campaigned in New Hampshire on the promise to cut corporate taxes for a second time, if he were elected president.

In a little-noticed clip from a recent Fox News interview that took place in New Hampshire, the former president was asked whether, if he were president, he would “do larger tax cuts? Corporate tax cuts?”

“I was planning on it. Had the result been different. The result was just fine, by the way,” Trump said, in what appeared to be an unusual commentary on the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, which Trump falsely claims was stolen.

In 2017, Trump signed a landmark tax cuts bill that brought the corporate tax rate to 21%, down from 35%.

– Brian Schwartz

For Trump’s supporters, immigration tops everything

Republican presidential candidate, former U.S. President Donald Trump autographs hats while visiting with supporters outside the polling site at Londonderry High School on January 23, 2024 in Londonderry, New Hampshire.

Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images

NASHUA, N.H. — Even in one of the nation’s northernmost states, the southern border is top of mind for supporters of Donald Trump.

“I think we’re done for good,” if President Joe Biden is reelected, because of “everybody coming over the border,” said Ruth Bealand, 83. “He took our borders down, and we’re not safe anymore,” she said of Biden, a Democrat.

“The border’s number one,” said David, 79, who asked that his last name not be used. His wife Julia, 72, agreed.

Trump is “going to put all those immigrants back where they belong,” said Julia, before quickly clarifying, “We all come from immigrants. But our immigrants, our family, did it the right way.”

Kevin Breuninger

New Hampshire’s electorate: White, working and wealthier than U.S. median

Voters fill out their ballots at a polling location at Bedford High School on January 23, 2024 in Bedford, New Hampshire. Voters headed to the polls as New Hampshire holds its primary.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images News | Getty Images

New Hampshire primary voters are mostly white and have a higher income than the national average, according to federal demographic data.

The state’s estimated population in July 2023 was slightly over 1.4 million, of which 92.6% are white, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Median annual household income was $90,845 from 2018 to 2022 — over $16,000 more than the national median income per household in 2022.

The unemployment rate in the Granite State is also lower than the national average: In October, it was 2.1%, 1.5 percentage points below the national unemployment rate that month of 3.6%.

Yet it remains to be seen how New Hampshire’s particular demographic and economic makeup affect the choices its voters make at the polls.

Nationwide surveys consistently show that the overall strength of the U.S. economy in recent years has not translated into higher rates of voter approval of President Joe Biden’s handling of the economy.

State-by-state inflation rates are difficult to calculate, but polls clearly point to a link between post-pandemic jumps in consumer prices and voter frustration with Biden.

— Chelsey Cox

Head of DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency was swatted

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Jen Easterly testifies before a House Homeland Security Subcommittee, at the Rayburn House Office Building on April 28, 2022 in Washington, DC. 

Kevin Dietsch | Getty Images

The Virginia home of a top U.S. cybersecurity official whose work includes securing the nation’s elections was swatted in late December, authorities said.

Arlington Police said a 911 call on Dec. 30 falsely reported a shooting at the residence of Jen Easterly, director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA.

The incident is the latest in a string of reported swatting calls targeting public figures who have been criticized by former President Donald Trump. Special counsel Jack Smith, who is prosecuting Trump in two federal cases, was swatted on Christmas Day. Two judges presiding over cases involving the former president have also been targeted.

“These incidents pose a serious risk to the individuals, their families, and in the case of swatting, to the law enforcement officers responding to the situation,” Easterly said in a statement.

“While my own experience was certainly harrowing, it was unfortunately not unique. In particular, several of our nation’s election officials have also been targeted with this type of harassment and other threats of violence,” Easterly said.

“The men and women of both parties who run our elections work tirelessly to ensure their security and integrity. We at CISA, along with our partners, will continue to support these election heroes as they work every day to safeguard our most sacred democratic process.”

— Dan Mangan

How Democrats’ write-in voting works

Volunteers hold signs outside of a polling station at Plymouth Elementary School in Plymouth, New Hampshire, US, on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024.

Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Write-in voting is the only way New Hampshire Democrats can cast a ballot for incumbent President Joe Biden, if they so choose.

To do so, voters must fill in the “Write-In” bubble, located on the last line of the ballot. In the corresponding line to the left, they must write the name of their preferred candidate.

The write-in votes will be hand-counted by poll workers who will determine a ballot’s vote based on “intent,” Secretary of State David Scanlan told NBC. Write-in ballots will count if a poll worker can reasonably figure out what the voter intended.

“If it’s a phonetic spelling, then it will likely be counted. If it is simply a first name, Joe, and there may be other Joes on the ballot, then that’s a different situation,” Scanlan said.

The final tally should become available around 11 p.m. ET.

Besides Biden, a progressive network online is encouraging voters to write “cease-fire” on their ballots, to protest U.S. support of Israel in its ongoing war with Hamas in Gaza.

— Rebecca Picciotto

Buy a cookie, cast your vote: Election Day foot traffic a golden opportunity

PTO bake sale at Ledge Street Elementary School, a polling location in Nashua, New Hampshire, during the first primary of the 2024 presidential election, Jan. 23, 2024.

Kevin Breuninger | CNBC

NASHUA, N.H. — The primary drives a lot of spending in the Granite State — but the election economy isn’t limited to TV ad sales and hotel rooms.

At Ledge Street Elementary School, one of this city’s nine polling locations, a parent-teacher organization is capitalizing on the steady flow of foot traffic with a bake sale.

Residents heading inside to vote will pass by a trio of fold-out tables piled high with cookies, cupcakes, dipped pretzels and an array of other homemade and home-wrapped goods from about 20 parents.

It’s prime real estate, but there’s no price-gouging here: Most of the goods sell for 50 cents, though larger items, like the postcard-sized “I Voted” cookies, fetch $1.

PTO bake sale at Ledge Street Elementary School, a polling location in Nashua, New Hampshire, during the first primary of the 2024 presidential election, Jan. 23, 2024.

Kevin Breuninger | CNBC

The PTO’s last bake sale, at a state-level election in November, netted around $300, said Amy Shuler, a fifth-grade teacher and the group’s treasurer. Some of that total came from donations, she noted.

This time around has already been much busier, she said.

The money helps fund field days, assemblies, playground equipment and sometimes even classroom supplies.

There’s “a lot of generosity toward the PTO,” said Shuler.

Kevin Breuninger

Crucial voter turnout will likely come down to four counties

Voters line up to cast their ballots in the New Hampshire primary election in Londonderry, New Hampshire, U.S., January 23, 2024. 

Brian Snyder | Reuters

Four of New Hampshire’s 10 counties could be key bellwethers to watch tonight to gauge all-important voter turnout, according to the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

Hillsborough, Rockingham, Stafford and Merrimack counties together comprise 75% of the primary electorate.

Since 1952, seven towns in New Hampshire have consistently gone to the eventual winner of the state’s Republican primary. Four of them are located in three of those counties, NBC News reported.

Trump won the city of Rochester in Stafford County by 20 points in 2016, close to his 23-point margin of victory in New Hampshire that year, according to NBC.

Hillsborough County made up nearly 30% of the primary vote in 2016, while 1 out of 4 votes came from Rockingham County. Merrimack County, located west of Stafford, was home to 12% of Republican primary voters in 2016.

— Chelsey Cox

New Hampshire GOP primary ad spending totals over $70 million

Campaign signs of Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and Former U.S. President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump are seen outside the Londonderry High School during the New Hampshire presidential primary election in Londonderry, New Hampshire, U.S., January 23, 2024. 

Reba Saldanha | Reuters

The New Hampshire Republican primary campaign will have cost over $70 million in advertisements, according to data from AdImpact.

The massive amount of ad money was split between the campaigns and supportive political action committees of Donald Trump, Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis. The ads aired on television, radio and digital platforms.

Haley will wrap up the New Hampshire primary riding on a wave of $30 million in ad support, which includes over $18 million from a pro-Haley super PAC, SFA Fund Inc.

Trump and his supportive super PAC have invested more than $15 million in ads in New Hampshire.

— Brian Schwartz





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