Hanover High sees busy day at polls, significant same-day registration

by Lauren Adler | 2/12/20 2:05am


Hanover High School bustled with activity as voters arrived to cast their ballots.

by Julia Levine / The Dartmouth

With the polls open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. yesterday, around 400 voters an hour cast their ballots in Hanover High School’s gymnasium for the New Hampshire presidential primaries. Voters — many of whom made their decision just this week or even yesterday — indicated broad preferences for former South Bend, IN mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). 

Hanover registered 1,015 voters at the polls yesterday under New Hampshire’s same-day voter registration policy, according to checklist supervisor Elaine Hawthorne. Hanover town clerk Betsy McClain said she was surprised by the number of people who registered to vote at the polls yesterday.

“I wasn’t even thinking we really had to schedule more than one person at the same-day registration table, but a lot of younger people got up early and came in,” McClain said. 

Many voters said that they made their decisions close to the primary, with some ultimately picking their candidates on election day.

“I think that [Warren] would make the best president, and what I decided just now is I can’t try to predict how other people are going to vote and who’s going to win an election,” said Joanne Hayes, who decided to vote for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) when she arrived at the polls. “I just voted for the person who’s going to be the best president.”

Electability was a common theme among voters, many of whom said they picked their candidate because they believed they could beat President Donald Trump in the general election.

“I’ve been keeping up with the polls, and I think that [Sanders] has a great chance to beat Donald Trump, and that’s my main concern for this 2020 election,” said Diego Perez ’23, who decided yesterday to vote for Sanders. “After the Iowa caucus, everything was pretty much looking towards Bernie, and even though Pete Buttigieg actually won, Bernie Sanders did get the popular vote in Iowa. And to me that’s more important — like that’s more representative overall.”

While Perez made his decision based solely on Sanders’ electability, other voters chose their candidates by looking at which policies best aligned with their individual values much earlier. 

New Hampshire state Sen. Martha Hennessey ’76 (D-Hanover), who publicly endorsed Buttigieg after Sen. Corey Booker (D-NJ) dropped out of the race, said she made her decision well before the election.

“He’s always listening to other people, and willing to adapt his own ideas based on surrounding himself by very bright, well-studied people,” Hennessey said. “He doesn’t get flapped so I think he could handle Trump — he doesn’t get excited, he doesn’t call people names, and I think we’ve seen a little bit too much of that … and he knows why he’s there and what he’s about.”

Hanover also saw a high number of write-in votes. 

Paula Schnurr, who ultimately decided on Election Day to vote for Klobuchar, said she came close to writing in former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“I think [Bloomberg] is also an excellent choice, and will likely be a factor in the race, but I thought for now that [Klobuchar] probably looked the most promising, and I would be very glad to have her as a president,” she said.

 While entrepreneur Andrew Yang dropped out of the race early yesterday evening, students not only voiced support for the candidate, but also voted for him. 

“I wasn’t really drawn to any of the other ones besides Yang,” said Alex Jones ’23, who voted for Yang after listening to his speech in Hanover on Sunday. “I was really drawn to his idea of a universal basic income. I like the way he frames the issues in this country, and I think he has succinct, but well thought-out solutions to what he thinks are the main problems in this country today.”

Regardless of who wins the Democratic presidential nomination, Hennessey said she hopes that Democrats will be able to come together behind the party’s pick.

“I think the number one thing is I would like people to stop sniping at each other,” she said. “They talk the talk about how we’re all going to have to stick together in the end and support [whomever] is the nominee, but I’m terrified that they’re not going to walk the walk … I think we all need to have that same attitude and just really concentrate on our candidate, and on the issues, and on winning — and not concentrating on beating each other up to get there.”

Correction appended (Feb. 12, 2020): This article originally identified Martha Hennessey as a state representative — she is a state senator.

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