They just kept coming and coming.
Voters in Southern New Hampshire came out in full force to voice their say in the state’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary with polling locations across several municipalities bustling all day.
Town election officials reported a steady flow of people in and out of the polls with a high voter turnout.
“We are all here for democracy,” Pelham Town Moderator Jim Hogan said. “This is what we want to see.”
It was business per usual in most towns with residents exercising their democratic voice. But in Pelham, overwhelming support for former President Donald Trump turned the parking lot entrance for Pelham High School into an impromptu party.
Loud music blared, with tunes like “Sweet Home Alabama” and “YMCA” pumping through the speakers. Trump campaigners and supporters held signs – which also lined the street and hung from a cherry picker lift.
Voters were amped up as they headed inside the high school, with most talking about casting their ballots for Trump.
Mike Andrews, of Pelham, was one of those voters supporting Trump. He wants a president in office who won’t get pushed around the way President Joe Biden does and likes how Trump conducts himself with other countries and upholds tough policies, he said.
“We need to be strong because we are a strong country,” Andrews said.
Kevin and Meg Farley, of Pelham, showed up for Trump. Both have been unsatisfied with Biden’s policies.
“Just look at the condition of our country right now,” Kevin Farley said. “It’s all intentional and diabolical really.”
“As controversial as he is, we need to get back to where we were,” Meg Farley said.
In Salem, Trump supporters stationed themselves outside polling locations at the Fisk School and Soule School with their “Trump 2024” picket signs. On the opposite side at each place was a Biden campaigner holding “Write-In Joe Biden” signage.
Chris Klemm, of Salem, previously voted for Trump four years ago and voted for him again because of his platforms.
He felt Biden has done a “terrible” job as president with border security and rising inflation.
“He backs the blue and will keep the borders secure,” Klemm said, referring to Trump.
Suzanne Redfern, of Salem, said she cast her vote for Trump with her grandchildren in mind. She said she hasn’t been confident with how Biden has handled foreign policy and fears his politics could lead to war. Redfern doesn’t see that with Trump.
“He has a mouth, but he knows what he’s doing,” Redfern said.
As the crowds thinned out at Windham High School, husband-and-wife Nikki Haley supporters Peter and Diana Jeans walked away from where they had been holding signs in support of their candidate.
The Jeans’ had been out since 7 a.m., interacting with voters, other people supporting their own candidates, and talking about why Haley was the one for them.
“We need a change in leadership,” Dianna Jean said. “She’s very committed to the American people. We need a candidate who could kind of bridge the gap between the two parties. Nikki is that person.”
Others like Martin Sipowicz, of Salem, switched allegiance for the election to vote for Nikki Haley and take steam away from Trump. Sipowicz said come November, Biden will get his vote.
“It mattered more against Trump than a write-in for Biden,” he said.
While Kelly Warren, of Salem, would not say who garnered her vote, she explained why it wasn’t for Trump.
“We need young blood,” Warren said. “A lot of people are disgusted by the old.”
Warren brought up the insurrection, saying Trump incited his followers
“A vote for Trump is disrespectful for women,” Warren said. “I worry for my kids, for my daughter.”
Some like Lou Brady, of Pelham, went to the polls with an original intent to vote for Haley as an undeclared voter. But when he checked in, he was still a registered Democrat so he decided to write-in Biden’s name.
“I wanted to show my support for the president and see him get some support in New Hampshire,” Brady said.
In Derry, Biden write-in supporters clustered on one side of the town’s polling location, Pinkerton Academy’s Field House. Among them were Derry residents Charlie Zoeller and Michelle Moge, expressing the urgency to show support for the current president.
“People are not paying enough attention to all the things that President Biden did to help this country in the last four years,” Zoeller said. “Biden is a decent person. Things that Trump has said clearly are threats to democracy. ”
Pelham Town Clerk Linda Newcomb said she didn’t know what to expect with the turnout, but saw a busy, steady flow of residents come through the doors.
Voting was brisk all day long, Pelham Town Moderator Jim Hogan added.
“People were in line before the polls opened,” he said.
Voter turnout was already more than 33% by 3:30 p.m. in Pelham with 3237 ballots cast. The town has 9334 registered voters.
Salem Town Moderator Chris Goodnow said everything was running smoothly at their polls and had not encountered any challenges.
At Fisk School, which is District 1 in Sale, there were over 1,100 ballots cast. More than 82% at that point were Republican ballots.
Goodnow predicted 45 % to 50 % of Salem registered voters.
Outside the Londonderry High School gym, a line snaked out the doors and across the sidewalk. There were more than 100 people lined up from the check-in area inside to the end of the sidewalk next to the high school at 5 p.m.
Town Moderator Jonathan Kipp said there had been a steady flow of voters all day, except for when Trump himself came by for a visit in the morning.
Alice Shovlin, a Trump supporter from Londonderry, said she was happy to see the turnout so high. She said all Americans should vote, no matter what.
“You got to come out and vote,” Shovlin said. “It’s your right to vote. people died for that right. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
In Windham, where there have been significant margins of error requiring an election monitor from the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s office to watch over the election, at least one voter was concerned about the problems there.
“We’re a kind of a relatively small town,” said Ted Maravelias, a Windham resident and Trump supporter. “We should be able to get this right.”
Maravelis said it doesn’t matter who people vote for, just so long as the votes are being counted fairly and accurately
“I just want a free and fair election and whatever the results are, that’s fine with me,” Maravelis said. “But we haven’t really had really accurate elections in this town.”
They just kept coming and coming.