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The Dartmouth
February 26, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Hanover voters favor moderacy, normalcy in 2024 N.H. presidential primary

The 3,582 voters who showed up to the polls in Hanover overwhelmingly supported moderate Republican Nikki Haley and incumbent President Joe Biden.

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From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Jan. 23, 3,582 Hanover voters cast their ballots in the New Hampshire presidential primary at the Hanover High School gymnasium. A majority of voters supported former Gov. Nikki Haley, R-S.C., and Democratic incumbent President Joe Biden in the Republican and Democratic primaries, respectively.

Of 1,757 total Republican ballots cast, 1,487 were for Haley and 228 for Donald Trump. Biden received 4 write-in votes in the Republican primary.

Due to a conflict between the New Hampshire Democratic Party and the Democratic National Convention regarding New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary status, Biden was not on the Democratic ballot and instead had to be written-in by voters. 

Of the 1,825 Democratic ballots cast, Biden was written in by 1,435 voters. Meanwhile, 196 people voted for Dean Philips, D-Min., and 55 for self-help author Marianne Williamson.

According to Supervisor of the Checklist Alison Gorman, around 517 voters were registered under New Hampshire’s same-day voter registration policy — a significant decrease from the 1,015 voters who registered under same-day registration in the 2020 presidential primaries. 

Isaac Mittman ’27, who described himself as a single-issue voter on foreign policy, said he voted for Haley because he was dissatisfied with the Biden administration’s handling of conflicts in the Middle East and had doubts about how a potential Trump administration would handle the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

“From the beginning, it was Nikki Haley,” Mittman said. “I’ve been waiting for her to run ever since she was U.N. ambassador.” 

Bill Black, a Hanover resident, said he believed the primary issue of the 2024 election is that “democracy is at crisis … largely because of Trump and the rest of the Republican party that has fallen in line with him.” Although he did not vote for Biden in the 2020 presidential primary, Black said that he has become “incredibly impressed” with Biden for “establishing normalcy” throughout his administration. 

“He’s led the world [in] the response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine [by] the way he brought NATO together,” Black said. 

He also noted that Biden’s economic performance is part of what has made his administration “absolutely the best.”

“One of the raps against Democrats my whole lifetime has been that Democrats are no good at the economy — [Biden has] been fantastic,” Black said. “14 million new jobs, the stock market just hit a record of 38,000, inflation is down … there’s no compromise here.”

In contrast to Black and Mittman, who both said they have long known who they would vote for yesterday, Mac Mahoney ’26 said he had been undecided prior to the first Republican presidential debate on Aug. 24 last year. According to Mahoney, Haley’s debate performance that night determined his vote. 

“Generally speaking, she’s electable for Republicans, which is important to me,” he said. “She’s also very well-spoken and committed to conservative principles.” 

Mahoney said he liked that Haley has policy positions that “resonate with conservatives and independents” and that she does not use “divisive rhetoric,” which he believes is “very damaging.”

However, not all voters cast their ballots according to their political ideology or policy priorities. A member of the Class of 2024, who requested anonymity in order to speak candidly about their vote, said she chose Haley to “shake things up.”

“I’m not really into politics … but my mom was like, ‘Vote for Nikki Haley!’ and I thought it would be interesting,” she said. “Seeing the same two people in the election again would be kind of boring.”

Clara Schreibman ’27, who is an undeclared voter, said that she voted for Haley “for the chances of Trump being elected to go down.” She said she registered to vote in New Hampshire instead of her home state of New Jersey because she thought her vote would have more “power” in New Hampshire. 

Other Democratic voters shared the member of the Class of 2024’s dislike for incumbent leadership. Elizabeth Cho, a Lebanon resident, explained that she voted and picketed for Williamson because she believes Williamson is the best alternative to Biden and Phillips, both of whom she referred to as “corporatist Democrats.” 

“Instead of just saying, ‘The economy is doing great,’ [Williamson is] actually saying ‘I know it’s unaffordable,’ and it’s because … the government is prioritizing the short-term profits of corporations over the actual needs and will of the people,” Cho said. 

A member of the Class of 2027, who asked to remain unnamed in order to speak candidly, said she wrote-in “ceasefire” in reference to pro-Palestinian demands for an end to the ongoing war in Gaza. However, she only did so because she was “pretty sure” Biden would win the primary. 

“I felt like it was an opportunity to assert myself … in a tangible way and stand for something I believe in, without putting my favorite candidate [Biden] at a disadvantage,” she said.