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Votes

Absentee Voting Sites Open for Business

Record number of voters flock to polls to vote early.

Harry Jackson and Dorothy Brandt have been busy this week. As election officers working at the Mount Vernon Governmental Center, they have been processing the historic number of voters gathering to cast an early ballot.

On Tuesday of this week, the line snaked out of the room set up for in-person absentee voting at the center. Doug Woodward was there; as a new election officer, he will be tied up on Election Day in a district other than his own and will not have time to vote. Woodward had just come from an officer training session, where he was told that as of Tuesday, 45,000 registered voters in Fairfax County had already voted. While there are over 660,000 total registered voters, these early numbers are unprecedented for the county.

Other voters had different reasons for voting early. Lester Munson will be out of town. Gail Swift will be in California. Joan Gray and James and Helen Cox have medical issues. In Woodward’s case, he had been sent an absentee ballot, so he merely completed the ballot, had it witnessed and was on his way. The Coxes, however, had been waiting almost an hour. For them, the procedure required completing a form with their social security number on it. Those forms were then given to Brandt, who called the main election officer to verify that the information was correct as stated. As voters were cleared, they were given the go ahead to vote at one of the machines marked District 8 or District 11.

In-person absentee voting will be available at the Mount Vernon Government Center, 2511 Parkers Lane, Alexandria, and Franconia Government Center, 6121 Franconia Road, Alexandria, from 3 to 8 p.m. through Friday and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

One of the following is a requirement for voting early:

* You are a student or the spouse of a student attending a school outside Fairfax County

* You will be away from Fairfax County on business

* You will be working and commuting for 11 or more hours between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m.

* You will be away from Fairfax County on personal business or vacation

* You are unable to go to the polls because of illness or disability

* You are the primary caretaker of a confined family member

* You have a religious obligation

* You are confined awaiting trial

* You are confined having been convicted of a misdemeanor

* You are an election official

* You are on active duty in the military outside Fairfax County

* You are the spouse or dependent residing with a member of the military outside Fairfax County

* You are an overseas citizen whose most recent United States residence was in Fairfax County

For more information on absentee voting, call 703-222-0776, or visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/eb.