Political primary elections tend to get overlooked, but they should not be as they are the first step to a party's bid for change. Young voters should know getting the vote out is critical. The country's attention is focused on the midterm elections (and it should be) but potential presidential candidates already have their eye on 2020. New Hampshire, once again, looks to play a major role on the elections, and it all starts with the primary. In this article, we will give you a brief history of the New Hampshire primary, how it has affected elections in the past, and how it looks to shape the upcoming election this time around.

New Hampshire is home to 1.3 million people and has a rich American history dating back to the days of the 13 colonies. New Hampshire has an independent nature that has made it a battleground state in multiple elections and can become a wildcard for unlikely candidates. In 2016, Hillary Clinton narrowly defeated Donald Trump in this state during the general elections. This is a clear example of the state's unpredictability as all the states surrounding it are "blue." Democratic candidates are looking to take this state by storm in 2020, and it all begins with the New Hampshire primary.

What Are Political Primary Elections?

Ballot box

Primary elections are statewide and are a way for voters to select their preferred candidates. The state's voters cast secret ballots indicating their choice to run for election as either the Democratic or Republican nominee. For presidential elections, the results determine how many delegates will be assigned to vote for that candidate at the party's national convention. The potential candidate who secures the most party delegates wins the nomination and can run for President in the election in their party. Primaries are the beginning of a long journey for a candidate, and securing delegates is what will propel them closer to being the candidate of choice by their respective party.

Open vs Closed Primaries

Primaries are either open or closed, and this varies by state. A closed primary means that voters must be registered as either Republican or Democrat. They can only vote on their respective party's ticket. An open primary allows for voters to vote on whichever ticket they wish, regardless of whether they are registered to a party or as an independent.

The New Hampshire primary is mainly an open primary, making it a tricky one to predict. New Hampshire holds a mix of both open and semi-closed primaries and because of the state's independent nature, there is more unpredictability than in other states.

The Long And Winding Road

In case you didn't know, once a candidate wins the primary—and if he or she does so in many states—then that candidate will have enough delegates to bid his or her place as the party's candidate for the presidential election. Once chosen, the candidate will face off with the opposing party's candidate in the general elections. There is a lot of ground to cover from point A to point B, but winning the primary is without a doubt a crucial step. The New Hampshire primary is a gauge in popularity, a sink or swim type of challenge.

Changes in Procedure

Since 2013, a voter have been required to present government-issued identification in the state of New Hampshire. Luckily, the process seemed to go smoothly during 2016. Some ballot boxes in New Hampshire open as early as midnight on election day and results are generally revealed during the evening. The Secretary of State in New Hampshire is in charge of the primaries.


A Brief History Of The New Hampshire Primaries

History of the New Hampshire Primary

New Hampshire primaries are always exciting as residents of the "live free or die" state are some of the first people to cast ballots in the nation. New Hampshire's voting trends can be a good predictor of how the race will proceed. Over the last few election cycles, the polls in New Hampshire have been closely watched. Candidates have battled hard to earn the vote of residents of this great state. There may not be many delegates up for grabs, but the attention that the New Hampshire primary garners can help build momentum for any candidate.

First In The Nation

New Hampshire is one of the original 13 colonies and has taken part in every election within the United States. New Hampshire is filled with small towns that are granted the right to head to the polls before anyone else. Towns in New Hampshire, such as Windsor (population:224), head to the ballots first and are closely watched as the electoral cycle begins. This is not only an event for the state but a celebration for the nation and a signaling of what lies ahead.

Democracy On Display


The New Hampshire primary is symbolic of our democracy and that is one of the reasons it gains such nationwide attention. The freedom to elect our government officials is a privilege not afforded too many, and it is to be treasured. While Iowa holds a caucus a few days earlier, since 1920 the state of New Hampshire has battled to keep its primary as the first in the nation. It is a tradition for residents of the state.

Live Free Or Die

Branded in every New Hampshire license plate you will see, "Live free or die," a motto used by the residents to remember the sacrifices made for freedom and for the liberty to choose government officials. Even the freedom to vote, without being registered to a particular party, is enforced in New Hampshire. The granite state is unique and filled with beautiful landscapes and people who proudly remember the trials of the American revolution. A candidate that wishes to win the hearts of the people of New Hampshire must be prepared to show that he understands the cherished history of America.

Why Is The New Hampshire Primary Significant?

There is a lot at stake in the New Hampshire primary and 2020 is shaping up to be no different. Candidates want to state their relevancy and influence as quickly as possible. If a candidate does well in the New Hampshire primary, he or she will quickly find more donations coming in. This is a positive note for any presidential campaign to start from. The New Hampshire primary is not only an opportunity to let your name be known but also to show the nation that you mean business and are gearing up for the long run.


What Is At Stake In The New Hampshire Primary?

New Hampshire Primary

While New Hampshire only grants four delegates, the national coverage is vast. Name recognition and broader financial support are at stake. Donald Trump won the 2016 New Hampshire primary, won his party's nomination, and defeated Hillary Clinton to become President of the United States. There is a lot that went on between the primary and the November elections but as the nation watched the New Hampshire primaries, they saw Donald Trump, a man with no prior political experience, defeat Governor John Kasich of Ohio. This gave Donald Trump the credibility he sought and pushed his campaign forward.

2020 Is Coming

The midterm elections are nearing, but presidential candidates are keen on the New Hampshire primary already. Potential Democratic candidates such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have already made appearances in the state and understand the importance of creating a presence. The state expects another tough battle, and residents of New Hampshire remain as independent as always, so the unpredictability will surely be there. It is never too early to hit the trail when it comes to New Hampshire.

Minus Diversity

The state of New Hampshire is not only older per average, but it is also not racially diverse, and that is something candidates take into consideration when campaigning there. The state of New Hampshire is an excellent predictor of how candidates may fare in other states where the white population is in the 80 percent range. The United States is truly a melting pot and there are many things to consider in each state. New Hampshire may be unpredictable in its voting but it is straightforward in the cultural homogeneity of its population.

For The People

One thing that makes the New Hampshire primary significant (for residents of the state at least) is the great economic stimulus it brings every four years. Major cities such as Manchester, Nashua, and Concord see a lot of traffic from reporters, politicians and much more. This is perhaps one of the main reasons that New Hampshire has fought so hard to keep its status as the first primary during an election year. There is no telling what 2020 will bring in terms of candidates but New Hampshire is prepared to receive them along with the attention of an entire nation.


The New Hampshire primary is important not only for our democracy but for the history of the nation. 2020 will bring in a new batch of candidates looking to bring about change. As they do, they will partake in the beautiful democracy that makes the United States shine. New Hampshire is looking to remain the first primary of each election cycle and continue making history. Other states have tried to take this spot in the past to no avail. New Hampshire may be small, but its spirit and history are large.


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