It’s a tie between US President Barack Obama and his Republican rival Mitt Romney — in the first results in the presidential election from a remote hamlet in New Hampshire.
Both received five votes each in Dixville Notch in the state’s northeast corner, which has opened its polls shortly after midnight each election day since 1960, but Tuesday’s tie was the first in its history.
The result was unexpected, town clerk Dick Erwin was quoted as saying. The hamlet, home to about a dozen residents, has drawn national media attention for being the first place in the country to make its presidential preferences known.
Dixville Notch had 100 per cent voter turnout since it started its first-in-the-nation voting tradition.
Under New Hampshire voting law, a polling place can be closed once all registered voters have officially cast their ballots. With all 10 registered voters on hand, the community had its tally shortly after midnight.
However, since 1996, another small New Hampshire town - Hart’s Location — reinstated its practice from the 1940s and also began opening its polls at midnight.
The result there? Obama 23; Romney 9. Although the community typically leans Republican, residents went for Obama in 2008 - the first time the majority of folks in Dixville Notch went for a Democrat in 40 years.
Nationally, polls show Obama as the slight favourite, with the two candidates in a virtual tie in national polls but the president holding a narrow lead in the key swing states needed to win the all-important electoral college.
In US presidential elections the winner is not decided by the nationwide popular vote, but indirectly, based on each state's population, with the winner needing 270 out of 538 electoral votes.
The small state of New Hampshire casts just four electoral votes, but it is considered a swing state and could prove decisive in an election that may well be decided by a razor-thin margin.
When Obama cried
An overwhelmed US President Barack Obama concluded his last speech of the election campaign on Monday night with a tear rolling down his cheek. The crowd noticed it as the president wiped it off from his eye in front of a huge crowd in Iowa state.
Seemingly swept up in the significance of the event in Des Moines, the usually-stoic president appeared to weep from his left eye as he made his last plea to voters on the last night of campaigning. “I’ve come back to Iowa one more time to ask for your vote.”