Balsams Grand Resort Hotel in Dixville Notch to be closed during Nov. 6 election
FILE - This Jan. 26, 2004 file photo shows the Balsams Grand Resort Hotel, in Dixville Notch, N.H., where the first-in-the-nation presidential primary ballots have been cast for 50 years. The Tillotson family, which has owned the resort since 1954, said Thursday, March 10, 2011, it was selling the property to Ocean Properties Ltd., Hotels and Resorts of Portsmouth, N.H. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)
For more than 50 years, voters in a township tucked close to the Canadian border have cast some of the nation’s first ballots for president at the historic Balsams Grand Resort Hotel.
But not this year.
Although the hotel will be closed for the Nov. 6 election, Dixville’s 10 registered voters will continue the midnight tradition at a local ski lodge.
The Victorian- and Alpinestyle resort, in the village of Dixville Notch, is known for its wood-paneled Ballot Room, where residents have cast their votes for president at the stroke of midnight on New Hampshire’s primary day and on the nation’s Election Day since 1960. The room is filled with political articles and cartoons from presidential campaigns and a special glass-encased ballot box.
Dixville shares midnight voting with Hart’s Location, which began the early-bird tradition in 1948. Most residents of the White Mountain village then were railroad workers who had to be on the job during normal polling hours. By 1964 the townspeople had grown weary of the media attention and the late hours and did away with the practice. They revived it in 1996.
Former Balsams owner Neil Tillotson, eager to steal the spotlight from Hart’s Location, arranged for the early elections by having Dixville incorporated in 1960 solely for voting.
The nearly 150-year-old resort was officially closed in September 2011. Two local businessmen who bought it for $2.3 million hope to re-open it next year.
The hotel this year was reopened just for one night – the state’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary Jan. 10.