First votes cast in New Hampshire

Two small villages in New Hampshire cast their votes shortly after midnight.

People prepare to cast their ballots inside polling booths just after midnight on 6 November 2012 in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, the very first voting to take place in the 2012 US presidential election. AFP/Rogerio Barbosa

CHICAGO/JOHANNESBURG - Votes have started to trickle in for US President Barack Obama and republican challenger Mitt Romney if you count the results of a quirky voting tradition in two small villages in New Hampshire.

The Hamlets cast their votes shortly after midnight, US time.

The majority of the polls open at 1pm.

In Hart's Location, Obama won with 23 votes while Romney received nine.

Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson received two votes.

In 2008, Obama carried Hart's Location, winning 17 votes to challenger John McCain's 10.

By tradition, Dixville Notch and Hart's Location get to cast the first votes of the presidential election just after midnight on Election Day.

The two campaigners received five votes each in Dixville Notch.


Obama, who wrapped up his last arguments Iowa, is planning a busy Election Day in Chicago including his traditional game of basketball with friends and staffers.

He will also do a few satellite interviews in battleground states, before having dinner with his family.

Meanwhile, Romney will head to Pennsylvania, a state the Republicans believe is still up for play although it has traditionally gone Democrat.

Analysts believe the economy is at the heart of the election, in a race is too close to call at this stage.