New Hampshire Primary draws locals to polls

The Granite State holds the first presidential primary every four years.

(Shannon Broderick/Amherst Wire)

The streets of Keene, NH were buzzing on Tuesday, Feb. 9, as town residents headed for the polls to vote in the state’s presidential primary. Signs hung on buildings and sat on lawns, campaigners stood outside advertising their favored candidates, and parking lots at polling locations filled up with cars as voters trudged through the snow to cast their ballots.

At the Parks and Recreation Department in Keene, local residents trickled in and out of the booths, handing their ballots to volunteers. Martha Ladam, Keene resident and volunteer, spent her day de-registering voters from political parties. She said that most locals wanted to stay independent, rather than stay affiliated with Democratic or Republican parties.

“It’s a quirky town in a quirky state,” she explained.

Supporters congregated at several field offices in the area, volunteering to give rides, make phone calls, and canvass from door to door. In the Sanders office, spray-painted signs and posters reminding campaigners to “Bern it down” adorned the walls. Nancy Brigham stated that her support for Sanders stemmed from the fact that his “priorities are addressing extreme economic and climate change.” After spending 30 years as a social worker in inner-city Philadelphia, Brigham said, she understands the effects that economic inequality can have on communities.

Jim Calabro supported a different candidate on Tuesday: Donald Trump. Calabro, a Vermont native, had voted for Sanders in the last Senate elections, but felt that the country was at a “tipping point” — one that only a “businessman, not a politician,” could fix. This was the first political campaign that Calabro had ever volunteered for.

New Hampshire holds the first presidential primary every four years, and the candidates who do well often go on to be nominated as the candidate for their party.

Email Shannon Broderick at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @shannon_brod.

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