Leslie “Les” Otten has had his share of jobs over the years: Ski resort developer, Red Sox Vice Chairman, renewable energy entrepreneur. Come late in the evening as Monday gives way to Tuesday next week in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, he’ll be wearing a new one: Caterer.

"I have a good friend that’s an incredible chef who’s coming up to cook some food that night," said Otten. "So, I have an official duty. I’m providing the noshes. That’s why I’m important."

Otten downplayed his role in this year’s midnight vote. For starters, he currently owns the Balsam’s Grand Resort Hotel, which he purchased after it closed in 2011. It was at the Balsam's that midnight voting became a New Hampshire — and U.S. media — tradition. Beginning in 1960, the Balsam’s quaint, wood-paneled Ballot Room became a staple on newspaper front pages and later live TV broadcasts.

But as late as a few weeks ago, it remained unclear as to whether a midnight vote would happen this year in Dixville Notch as the town’s population dwindling.

"I didn’t know until about the first of December that we were down from the eight or nine [residents] that we had," said Otten. "Down to five, if I participated."

That number is crucial, as New Hampshire state law requires a certain number of designated town officials be present at any polling place — effectively meaning you need at least five residents to hold a vote. Otten said he was already in the process of officially changing his residency. His plans to redevelop and reopen the Balsam’s had been picking up steam and he had essentially been living in Dixville Notch in recent months. Earlier this year, his official change of residency came through, making him resident — and voter — number five.

"That's just the way that it worked out," he said.

But Dixville Notch is not the only town where midnight voting will happen in 2020, nor was it the first town to do it. 80 miles to its south lies Hart’s Location. Midnight voting there began in the 1950s, years before Dixville Notch got into the game. They stopped after the 1964 election but reinstated it in 1996. The town's slogan? "Hart's Location...first in the nation."

"In order to have a midnight vote, we have to have one hundred percent participation in order to close the polls," explained New Hampshire State Representative Edward Butler, a long-time resident of Hart’s Location. Indeed, state law also requires towns to show that they haven't disenfranchised any voter by holding a vote in the wee hours.

Butler said that helps make midnight votes a real exercise in democracy and a true community event.

"We get together starting around 11:30 p.m.," he said. "People bring cookies and cake and coffee and tea and water, and we catch up with people we haven’t seen for a while."

In recent elections, Hart’s Location had between 30 and 40 voters, far more than Dixville Notch these days. Still, Butler said they are efficient.

"When we get close to midnight we line up alphabetically so we can get to our polling booth’s as quickly as possible," he explained. "Generally, we’ll be done in about five minutes."

The latest New Hampshire town to enter the modern midnight sweepstakes is Millsfield — next door to Dixville Notch. They held their first midnight vote in decades in 2016 — but were actually the first of the three towns to do it. Their first midnight vote happened in the 1930s. Officials there said things went well in 2016 and they will hold a second straight midnight presidential primary vote this year.

Rep. Butler said there is some "friendly competition" among the towns to be the first to wrap up voting, but to think of it is a race would be missing the point.

"It’s the act that is important," said Les Otten. "Not the competition as to which town or how many town’s are doing it."

And while it can be tempting to dismiss these small-town midnight votes as some quaint throwback, Butler said it is far more than a gimmick.

"It's really an exciting process and we enjoy it," he said. "It is a piece of history. It's a tradition. And it gives us a little extra respect for the process, I think."