How to watch the New Hampshire primary like a pro

Just 27 voters turned out in Dixville Notch, Hart’s Location and Millsfield, a small fraction of the 292,000 Democratic voters that New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner expects to have their say on Tuesday — but those voters gave a very early lead to Amy Klobuchar before the bulk of the votes pour in.

Here’s everything you need to know to watch the New Hampshire primary like a pro when the rest of the polls open and close on Tuesday:

Who can vote in the Democratic primary?

In order to vote in the Democratic presidential primary, voters must either be registered Democrats or not be members of any political party. Registered Republicans can only vote in the GOP primary, and the deadline for voters to change their registration was last October.

Unenrolled voters who wish to remain independent must sign an additional card before leaving their polling place to avoid becoming a member of the party whose primary ballot they just pulled.

Who’s on the ballot?

This is one of those questions with no short answer.

There are 33 names on the Democratic primary ballot, including candidates who have since suspended their campaigns, like Cory Booker, Julián Castro and Kamala Harris. The Republican ballot is a little smaller: President Donald Trump has 16 other GOP challengers.

The ballot is so crowded because the qualification criteria are so small. In order to get on the ballot, candidates need to meet the constitutional requirements to be president (a natural-born citizen, at least 35 years of age), fill out a form, and pay a $1,000 filing fee.

The low bar to qualify creates some weirdness. Take this one: On the Republican ballot is “Roque ‘Rocky’ De La Fuente,” the California-based serial candidate who ran for Senate in roughly a dozen states in 2018. Meanwhile, his son, “Roque De La Fuente,” is on the Democratic ballot.

What time do the polls open?

There’s more quirkiness here, even putting the midnight-voting towns aside. The voting hours vary by city and town. In the two largest cities — Manchester and Nashua — the polls open at 6 a.m. Eastern.

But the polls open at 7 a.m. in Concord and Derry, the third- and fourth-largest cities. In other towns, the polls open at either 8 a.m., or as late as 11 a.m.

What time do the polls close?

Given all the eccentricities of voting in New Hampshire outlined thus far, do you really expect all polling places to close at the same time?

They don’t. Again, besides the three towns that open at midnight and close immediately, precincts in New Hampshire close at different times depending on the town, either at 7 p.m., 7:30 p.m. or 8 p.m. Polls close at 7 p.m. in Manchester, but 8 p.m. in Nashua.

When do we expect first results?

After the handful of votes cast at midnight, more results should begin streaming in shortly after 7 p.m. — but no news organization will project a winner until after all the polls have closed statewide at 8 p.m.

News organizations will also begin to report the results of the exit poll — which consists of interviews with voters as they depart their polling places — beginning at 8 p.m. We’ll probably have a small chunk of the votes counted by then, too.

How is the winner declared?

Unlike the Iowa caucuses, the New Hampshire primary is more straightforward: The candidate with the most votes wins.

But there is still some national delegate math at play. New Hampshire has 33 delegates, which will be doled out proportionally to candidates who get more than 15 percent of the vote statewide or in at least one of New Hampshire’s two congressional districts. The upshot: A narrow victory in the raw vote count may lead to the top candidates winning similar numbers of delegates.

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