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Candidates make pitches as minutes tick down in NH

Associated Press Published: November 5, 2012

Hassan was attending a get-out-the-vote rally Monday with Lynch in Nashua, while Lamontagne planned to join Romney in Manchester. All four candidates in the Congressional races also were spending the day shaking hands and greeting voters around the state.

Ayres, who grew up in Hanover and was home for a few days volunteering for Obama, said the campaign was zeroing on people who've said they support the president and reminding them to vote. In some cases, volunteers were being sent to the same homes multiple times Monday if a voter wasn't around earlier in the day, she said.

"I think people are cautiously optimistic about New Hampshire," said Ayres, 28, who lives in Washington, D.C., and works for the Center for American Progress. "(Get-out-the-vote) doesn't always matter in races, but it seems like here in New Hampshire, GOTV is actually going to make a difference this time."

Voters also will cast ballots for 400 state House seats and 24 state Senate seats. Republicans hold 18 of the Senate seats currently to Democrats' five seats with one vacancy. The number in the House is 288 Republican to 102 Democrats with 10 vacancies. Both sides expect the chambers to be more closely divided after the election.

Secretary of State William Gardner is predicting 722,000, or 70 percent of New Hampshire's voting age population will cast ballots. More than 808,000 people are registered, and voters also can register at the polls. Assistant Secretary of State Karen Ladd says voters should be prepared for long lines. For the first time, voters must show photo identification or sign an affidavit to vote, and the ballot is lengthy, with two proposed constitutional amendments.

New Hampshire, home to the first-in-the-nation presidential primary, also has some of the earliest general election voting. Two communities, Dixville and Hart's Location, open their polls at midnight for their combined 46 voters.