US elections: Dixville Notch town keeps up tradition of being first to vote, Clinton wins with four votes

Town moderator Tom Tillotson arriving with the ballots for the US presidential election at midnight in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, on Nov 7, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

DIXVILLE NOTCH (AFP, REUTERS) - The first result from the US presidential election on Tuesday (Nov 8) is out. Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton has won in Dixville Notch, a tiny town in New Hampshire with just eight votes.

The small mountain town just south of the Canadian border is well known for its longstanding tradition of being the first in the United States to vote since 1960. The voters cast their ballots at midnight on Tuesday.

Mr Clay Smith was the first of seven people to cast their ballots. An eighth resident voted by absentee ballot.

The tally was announced in a matter of minutes: four votes for Mrs Clinton and two for her Republican rival Donald Trump.

Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson won one vote, and there was a write-in vote for Mr Mitt Romney, the losing Republican presidential candidate in 2012.

Polling in the rest of the country will open later in the day over six time zones, starting from 6am local time (7pm Singapore time). Results are expected to start trickling in from late morning to lunchtime on Wednesday.

The presidential campaign ended on Monday in the same angry tone it began, with Mr Trump calling Mrs Clinton a "phony" and the latter accusing him of splitting the country, as a new Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll showed Mrs Clinton with a strong chance of winning.

Mrs Clinton and Mr Trump raced through several battleground states in a last-ditch attempt to encourage their supporters to show up and vote on Tuesday.

Mrs Clinton sought to capture more support from Latinos, African-Americans and young people, while Mr Trump looked to win over disaffected Democrats and rev up a middle class that he said has been sidelined by the political establishment.

The Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation project gave Mrs Clinton a 90 per cent chance of defeating Mr Trump, seeing her on track to win 303 Electoral College votes out of the 270 needed, to Mr Trump's 235.

With surveys indicating a tight race in Michigan, which Democrats have long counted on winning, both candidates made campaign appearances there. Pennsylvania, another vote-rich state, was also seen as fertile ground by both camps in the closing hours of their campaigns.

Mrs Clinton held the biggest rally of her campaign in Philadelphia on Monday night, drawing a crowd that the city's Fire Department put at 33,000 to hear her and President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and rockers Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi.

"We face the test of our time," Mrs Clinton told supporters, saying they could decide what sort of country they wanted to live in. "We choose to believe in a hopeful, inclusive, big-hearted America."

Mr Obama, who campaigned earlier in the day for Mrs Clinton in Ann Arbor, Michigan, reiterated his charge that Mr Trump is"temperamentally unfit to be commander in chief," and said Mrs Clinton offered an experienced and accomplished alternative.

Mr Trump told voters at an evening rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, that they had one question facing them at the ballot box on Tuesday.

"Do you want America to be ruled by the corrupt political class or do you want America to be ruled again by the people?" he asked. "The American working class will strike back."

The tycoon, a former reality TV star who had never previously run for public office, began his last day of campaigning in Sarasota, Florida. He and Mrs Clinton have been locked in a tough battle Florida, with its large Hispanic-American population.

Mr Trump gave no ground to Mrs Clinton or to polls showing her with a narrow lead. Predicting he would win, he told supporters in Sarasota that Mrs Clinton "is such a phony," saying, "We're tired of being led by stupid people."

Mr Trump also stopped in North Carolina and Pennsylvania before closing with a late-night rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Mrs Clinton, in addition to Philadelphia, stopped in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and visited Michigan before wrapping up with a midnight rally in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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