voting day

It's been 100 years since New Hampshire held its first presidential primary, and it seems like some of the current candidates have been hanging around for nearly that long. More than a few started popping up a full two years before Tuesday's state election. Here's what you need to know about the primary:

When and where: State law requires polls to be open between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday, but each town and city sets its own hours. Most allow voting between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. Three tiny towns — Hart's Location, Dixville and Millsfield — have permission to open polls at midnight and close them moments later once everyone has voted. Altogether, there are 319 polling locations.

Turnout: Secretary of State Bill Gardner has said he expects the number of ballots to be cast to top the records set in 2008, the last time both sides had contested races. That year, just more than 241,000 ballots were cast in the GOP primary and just fewer than 289,000 in the Democratic primary, which amounted to nearly 60 percent of registered voters. Independent voters, known as "undeclared," can vote in either primary, and can revert to undeclared status immediately afterward. As of Dec. 28, there were 873,932 registered voters: 44 percent were undeclared, 26 percent were Democrats and 30 percent were Republicans. New voters also can register on primary day.

The weather factor: Much of the state saw very little precipitation until a pair of storms in the final days before the primary, including a storm Monday. However, only flurries are forecast for primary day.

Happy birthday: In 1913, Rep. Stephen Bullock traveled by horse and buggy from his Richmond farm to Concord to propose a bill creating the primary. The Legislature passed it that spring, and the first presidential primary was held in March 1916. While other states beat New Hampshire that year, New Hampshire has had the first primary since 1920. It wasn't until 1952, however, that voters cast ballots for candidates directly instead of choosing delegates. State law requires the primary to be held seven days ahead of any other similar contest.

Getting on the ballot: Unlike other states, it's cheap and easy to get on the ballot in New Hampshire: Candidates sign paperwork and hand over a $1,000 check. This year, a near record 58 White House hopefuls signed up — 30 Republicans and 28 Democrats.

Associated Press