UPDATE at 530 p.m., TUESDAY, NOV. 4:
CONCORD – At 5 p.m. on Election Day, Secretary of State Bill Gardner said he had no reason to change his prediction that there will be a record voter turnout for a non presidential year.
He said that at 2 p.m., an election official in Bow told him that 2,296 resident had come in to vote and that by the same time on Election Day in 2010, a total of 2,122 residents had voted.
Gardner said the moderator in Merrimack said late this afternoon that he expected voting there to exceed the 9.662 who voted in 2010 by about 1,000 to 1,500.
Londonderry was also reportedly heavy for a non-presidential year, Gardner said.
“Based on everything I’m hearing right now,” Gardner said, “there is no reason to change” his prediction that 464,000 Granite Staters will end up going to the polls today, breaking the previous non-presidential year record of 461,000 in 2010.
(Our earlier report follows.)
TUESDAY, NOV. 4, at 1 p.m.:
CONCORD — Secretary of State Bill Gardner told the New Hampshire Journal a short time ago that voter turnout in the Granite State so far is tracking with his prediction of 464,000 voters going to the polls, or a 53 to 54 percent turnout.
“From everything we’ve heard this morning, turnout is brisk,” the veteran election official said in an interview. He also said that so far, he is aware of “no major issues” at polling places.
Gardner, who has been Secretary of State since 1976, predicted the highest turnout ever for a mid-term election in New Hampshire, topping 461,000 in 2010, when Republican won a super majority of the New Hampshire House and a 19-5 majority in the state Senate.
He said he has heard nothing to cause him to change his opinion so far.
It is unclear which side the big turnout is helping since both sides are boasting unprecedented get-out-the-vote operations. In the past, larger midterm turnouts have helped Republicans.
Gardner said that if the turnout is a record for the midterm, “that’s not really a big deal because the population of the state has been increasing. But it would be a record for a non-presidential year.”
Gardner said turnout was 452,000 in 2002, which was a major Republican year, and then 417,000 in 2006, when Democrats scored major victories.
That led to the 2010 turnout of 461,000 .
By comparison, presidential years typically result in 250,000 to 300,000 more voters going to the polls than during midterms. For example, in 2012, he said, 718,000 Granite Staters went to the polls.
Gardner reported some anecdotal information.
He said that Hudson reported 700 voters after only an hour after the poll opened “and a few hours later it was about 2,000. They think they may reach 6,000 soon, which is the same number of votes they had all day in 2010.” He also said an employee in his office reported a substantially higher number of absentee ballots than two years ago being as of early today in Barnstead.