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January 10. 2012 12:34AM

Hart’s Location voters put Romney on top

HART’S LOCATION — With five votes, Mitt Romney was the winner in this tiny community, though President Barack Obama held his own with 10 votes.

At midnight, a total of 23 votes were cast in town hall for the first-in-the-nation presidential primary. Voting took two minutes and 26 seconds.

Republican Ron Paul captured four votes, Jon Huntsman two, and Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich received one each.

Hart’s Location residents were among the first of the state’s voters to cast their ballots; they were joined by residents in Dixville Notch.

“Now it’s official. I’ve done it. I can go home,” voter Nancy Ruggiero said.

The tradition began in 1948, when folks in Hart’s Location decided to open the polls early for the presidential election, with residents gathering at 7 a.m. so that railroad workers — who worked on the tracks that go through Crawford Notch — could vote.

The railroad workers were not allowed to vote during working hours, and the early voting allowed them to cast their votes without taking time off.

The media attention began, Deputy Town Clerk Butler said, when Florence Morey, a local official, sent the results in to a Boston newspaper. All of a sudden, the small town was a media sensation.

Morey was also a longtime state representative; her home became a must-stop for those seeking higher office. Morey held various town offices, including the post of selectman, to which she was first elected in 1928.

Morey’s home was the Inn Unique, now known as the Notchland Inn. It is owned by Butler and his partner, Les Shoof. The pair help resurrect the tradition of Hart’s Location voting in 1996.


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