1. Voting is straightforward
Kudos to those of you who mastered the complex caucus system that Iowa uses to pick its presidential nominees. But now you can breathe a sigh of relief. In New Hampshire, it is much more straightforward. Anonymous ballots are cast at regular voting locations.
Also, the election is run by the New Hampshire secretary of state's office and not by the individual political parties. That means an actual vote that's able to be recounted, if necessary (though there are complicated rules for that; check in with us if that becomes relevant).
2. Midnight voting — and lots of varied poll-close times
That doesn't mean the primary isn't without its quirks. One of those quirks is midnight voting — at least in some places. Each town in New Hampshire sets its own time for when the polls open. Three tiny towns — Dixville Notch, Hart's Location and Millsfield — choose to cast their votes just after midnight Tuesday morning.
How small are these places? Dixville Notch's population is just 12; Millsfield, 23; and by comparison, Hart's Location is a veritable metropolis with 41 residents, according to the 2010 census, anyway.
Most polls in the state are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET. Polls in Manchester, the state's largest city with about 110,000 people, are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET.
3. It's really easy to get on the ballot
New Hampshire is a small state — both geographically and population-wise. And its politics have a very local feel, unlike in big states such as, say, California, Texas or Florida. Voters love town halls so they can kick the tires and look under the hoods of candidates. They ask probing, sometimes blunt questions at town halls, and they want to look a candidate in the eye.
Out of this culture comes the ease by which candidates can get on the ballot. All it takes is $1,000; or, if that's too much, just 100 signatures will do. That means on this year's presidential ballot, there will be 58 (yes, 58!) people — 30 on the Republican side and 28 for the Democrats.
4. A state known for its high voter participation and independent streak
New Hampshire voters are used to voting. Their governors have the shortest terms in the country, elected every two years. Because of that, in part, New Hampshire has had among the highest primary voter turnout rates in the country. In 2012, for example, 31.1 percent of all eligible voters showed up to the polls despite the Democratic side not being competitive. (Who was first? North Carolina, actually, with 31.5 percent, according to the U.S. Elections Project, maintained by Michael McDonald at the University of Florida.)
It is expected to soar much higher than that this year with both sides being competitive. New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner is predicting a record-breaking turnout in 2016 of 550,000 votes cast, or 63 percent of all registered voters. (That would break the total votes-cast record in the state of 527,349.)
Gardner also said he thinks more Republicans (about 282,000) will come out to vote, given the historically large field of candidates, than Democrats (about 268,000). For Republicans, that would break the 2012 total turnout primary record in the state of 248,475. It would fall short of the 287,556 Democrats who showed up in 2008.
And a lot of those voters are independents or undeclared — roughly 44 percent. Not surprising for a place whose state motto is "Live Free or Die." And, unlike in many other states, those independents can vote here in either the Republican or the Democratic primary. That's important because in an open presidential election, with the kind of interest that has been drummed up by this election on both sides, which way those indies go could sway the outcome.
That might be thought to help someone like Hillary Clinton, who is seen as more centrist than Bernie Sanders, but it's Sanders who has been winning independents in the state, while Clinton does best with hard-core Democrats.
By the way, if, after voting, those independents want to remain undeclared, they have to fill out a form saying so before leaving the voting location. That might be seen as a sneaky way to register voters in most other states, but, see above: New Hampshire is used to this.
5. New Hampshire has had a better track record of picking GOP nominees in recent years
New Hampshire voters like to say they pick presidents while Iowa picks corn. So how true is that? Since 1976, in competitive presidential primaries, New Hampshire has selected 10 eventual nominees (five Democrats, five Republicans). That includes the last two Republicans — Mitt Romney and John McCain. The last Democrat it picked right for the nomination was John Kerry in 2004. (Obama narrowly lost to Hillary Clinton in 2008 despite leading in the polls heading into voting.)
That's only about a Hillary Clinton-Iowa-size win better than New Hampshire's rival first state. (Iowa has picked nine nominees in that same time frame.)
OK, but the point here was about picking presidents. So is New Hampshire good at that? The truth is, neither Iowa nor New Hampshire is that great at it. They've picked three presidents each.
And New Hampshire has struggled in the past few decades at picking presidents, honestly. Consider:
-- No Democrat who has won the New Hampshire primary has won the presidency since Jimmy Carter in 1976.
-- And no Republican has done it since George H.W. Bush in 1988.
The New Hampshire primary, though, goes further back than Iowa — all the way to 1916, actually (though back then they were voting for delegates to the national conventions, not directly for candidates). And the record holder for the most New Hampshire primary wins — three — is Richard Nixon.
Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush and his wife Columba Bush wade into a crowd of television cameras after stepping off his campaign bus outside the polling place at Webster School on primary day February 9, 2016 in Manchester, New Hampshire. Candidates from both parties are making last-minute attempts to swing voters to their side on the day of the 'First in the Nation' presidential primary.
Republican presidential candidate Ohio Governor John Kasich speaks to the media outside Manchester High School, a voting location for the New Hampshire state primary, on February 9, 2016 in Manchester, New Hampshire. Today New Hampshire voters will decide between Republican and Democratic nominees for the presidency. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) greets supporters outside the polling place at Webster School February 9, 2016 in Manchester, New Hampshire. Candidates from both parties are making last-minute attempts to swing voters to their side on the day of the 'First in the Nation' presidential primary. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Supporters of many of the presidential candidates hold signs outside the polling place at the Webster School February 9, 2016 in Manchester, New Hampshire. Tuesday is the 100th anniversary of the New Hampshire primary, the 'First in the Nation' test for presidential candidates from both parties. (Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images)