While New Hampshire voters are unlikely to face the same kind of harsh weather conditions as the Iowa caucus-goers last week, Tuesday’s results could be delayed by a significant amount of hand-counting or by calls for a recount from a certain former president who has made a habit of questioning results he doesn’t like.
Amid the battle within the Democratic Party about which states should come first in the primary calendar, President Joe Biden, who is not on the ballot, is expected to get a large number of write-in votes, meaning that hand-counting may delay the final results on the Democratic side.
New Hampshire secretary of state David Scanlan has told election officials to release the results of the Republican primary ahead of the Democratic results if hand-counting on the left side of the aisle slows down the processing of ballots.
Florida governor Ron DeSantis, finished second in Iowa but dropped out of the race on Sunday after saying he say “no clear path to victory in New Hampshire, leaving Mr Trump and Ms Haley in a two-horse race for their party’s presidential nomination.
Most of the polls in the Granite State close at 7pm but some close at 7.30pm and a few at 8pm.
The tiny town of Dixville Notch is set to announce its results first, with its handful of voters showing up to the polls at midnight and the results being shared shortly afterwards on the morning of primary day before the polls open elsewhere in the state.
In the 2020 New Hampshire primary, the Associated Press reported the first results for the Democrats at 12.13am ET on the morning of primary day and a minute later the Republican results were announced.
The first results the following evening after a day of voting were announced at 7.32pm for the Republicans and at 7.34pm for the Democrats.
The tabulation of votes on primary night in 2020 ended at 1.12am for the Democrats with 93 per cent of the votes counted and at 1.14am for the GOP with 92 per cent of the votes counted.
The initial results are expected from Manchester and Concord, with the reporting of the results in the northern parts of the state usually taking longer.
There are worries that if Ms Haley wins by a slim margin, Mr Trump may refuse to accept the results and call for a lengthy recount, as he did after losing the 2020 election. The same candidate also accused Texas senator Ted Cruz of stealing the Iowa caucuses in 2016 after Mr Trump came in second place there.
In 2020, Mr Trump claimed that he would have won New Hampshire if people had not been bussed in from Massachusetts to vote. There was no evidence to suggest this actually happened.
As of 22 January, Mr Trump leads in FiveThirtyEight’s average of New Hampshire polls, receiving 49.8 per cent to Ms Haley’s 36 per cent.
New Hampshire governor and Haley backer Chris Sununu told USA Today that he isn’t concerned about election denials if the former South Carolina governor beats Mr Trump.
“What, are you going to get 250 town moderators to conspire secretly in a back room somewhere across the state?” he told the newspaper. “It’s a ridiculous concept.”
“If anyone has any concerns, we have a paper ballot in every town and we can just do a recount. You can hand recount anything people challenge,” he noted.
“If people want to pay for a recount, they’re more than welcome.”
Mr Scanlan told the same paper he does not expect a recount but he added that he “wouldn’t be surprised” if one was called for.
Regarding the Democratic race, he said he expected the results to be available by the end of the night.
“I don’t think it is going to take that long to do the write-in votes,” he said.
“The polling places have staffed up with extra help. And it’s just it’s a simple sort, stack, count them up, double check the results.”