Many states are classified as "blue" or "red" depending on how predictable their voters' preferences are. But a handful of states are toss-ups, including New Hampshire, where Election Day could go either way. There are four electoral votes at stake with New Hampshire; it may not seem like much, especially when compared to California's 55, but every vote in the Electoral College counts in the candidates' race to 270 votes.
The swing state is surrounded by "blue" states, but New Hampshire voters tend to be more independent and not as attached to party affiliation as their neighbors. Out of the last ten presidential elections, New Hampshire has voted for the Republican candidate five times and the Democratic candidate five times (though the state has voted Democratic in the last three elections). In 2012, President Obama won the state over Mitt Romney by approximately 5.5 percent.
Many major news and polling outlets favor Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's chances over her Republican opponent Donald Trump. As of Nov. 4, Clinton is currently polling at 46.2 percent versus Trump's 38.4 percent, according to POLITICO's Battleground States polling average. FiveThirtyEight's aggregation of polling data shows Clinton's chance of winning New Hampshire to be 61 percent versus Trump's 39 percent chance of winning the state, as of Nov. 4.
Several other states already have data from early voting that indicate which candidate is ahead, but voting early in New Hampshire is hard to do. The state limits early voting to absentee ballots obtained under strict conditions; caretakers for the infirm only became eligible in 2016, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported.
While some, including Paula Hodges, state director of America Votes, and State Rep. Kathi Rogers, think voting should be made easier in New Hampshire, Secretary of State Bill Gardner says otherwise. The easier you make voting, the less likely people are to do it, he told the Union Leader. "Early voting has the opposite effect; it cheapens the value of the day itself," said Gardner.
No matter what you think about Gardner's ideas about voting, you cannot deny that New Hampshire has some of the most relatively forgiving rules when it comes to forgetting to register to vote. New Hampshire allows Election Day registration, which means a person can just show up at the polls on Election Day, register, and vote. Of course, this still requires having a form of voter identification, and it will take longer than if you had already been registered.
Since New Hampshire doesn't do early voting, we'll just have to wait until Nov. 8 to see which candidate wins the state.