Most voters know each other in Hart's Location
That was not the case for the visitors who crowded in the hall';s entryway, where two of those watching and waiting were from overseas.
Paul Wesson and Elchin Musayev of OSCE (Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights) were observing the election process in the little town -; population as of the 2010 census: 41 -; and afterward had a long trip back to Concord. Wesson, from England, and Musayev, from Azerbaijan, have observed elections throughout the world. Wesson said he';s been an observer in 56 nations, and the organization was ';heavily'; involved in the Balkans.
At midnight Tuesday, Les Shoof, town moderator, declared the polls open. In a little more than five minutes, residents moved through the booths set up in the former AMC cabin, circling back to hand their ballot to Shoof.
Thirty-three residents voted in the election, eight of them absentee. All on the checklist of 37 had been accounted for, with one opting not to vote, one in a nursing home, and two having moved over to Maine, allowing Shoof to close the polls at 12:05 a.m.
It took longer to count the votes. As reported earlier, President Obama, Maggie Hassan, and Carol Shea-Porter were the top vote getters in their races.
Crowded in the tight space of the entryway were a few candidates, past and present. Former congressman Paul Hodes stood side by side with Democrat activist Jim Demers. Candidate for county sheriff Domenic Richardi was the only Republican waiting for results, but since he had received enough write-in votes on the other party';s primary ballot, his name appeared in the Democrat column, too. His challenger, Francis Lord, is running as an independent. Richardi beat Lord, 28 to 5.
Hart';s Location resident and former state representative Ed Butler easily won his hometown, getting 27 votes to Republican Norm Tregenza';s six. The two will have to wait to find out who wins until the votes are tallied in the rest of Carroll County District 7 towns.
Democrats won races up and down the ticket. Even District 1 Executive Councilor Ray Burton was not immune to the trend, tying with Democrat Beth Funicella at 15 votes each. Rep. Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett) narrowly beat Democrat Gino Funicella, 17 to 15.
As a very, very small town, Hart';s Location does not have its own representatives, and the ultimate winners won';t be declared until other towns in the districts chime in.
Hart';s Location resident Chelsea Latham said her choices were influenced by the ';extreme behavior'; of those in the state house this past legislative session.
Of the 37 registered voters on the town';s checklist, there are 10 Democrats, six Republicans, and 21 undeclared.
Wesson and Musayev were going back to Concord by way of Bretton Woods and then down through Franconia Notch. They were cautioned to be particularly observant for moose as they drove through the night.