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Votes

Opinion: Registered to Vote at Current Address?

Oct. 15 deadline; encourage eligible high school and college students to vote as well.

It's a key question that must be answered by Oct. 15 in order to vote in this presidential election: are you registered to vote at your current address? Answering that question early, and voting early, will help ensure that your vote is counted and will contribute to a more orderly Election Day.

Check your registration status online at www.sbe.virginia.gov.

Voter turnout will be high, and unknown challenges from natural phenomena like earthquake or derecho lurk on Election Day. A significant percentage of the more than 700,000 registered voters in Fairfax County, more than 155,000 in Arlington and more than 140,000 in Alexandria will turn out to vote on Nov. 6. Four years ago in 2008, a record number of voters turned out at the polls, nearly 75 percent of registered voters across the Commonwealth.

If you can wrap your brain around the concept of voting "absentee in-person," you can vote starting Sept. 21.

BACK TO SCHOOL CIVICS LESSON

If there are high school students in your household who will be 18 by Election Day, encourage them to register and vote. Any person who is 17 years old and will be 18 years of age at the next general election shall be permitted to register in advance, according to the State Board of Elections. Parents should help their children see voting as a right and a responsibility, not something to be left to others. I've heard numerous voting age high school and college students express doubts about voting, mostly based on lack of confidence.

While college students are already away at college, they should also confirm their voter registration and vote absentee. If they will be at home anytime between Sept. 21 and Nov. 3, they can vote "absentee in person," and otherwise they can mail or fax a request for an absentee ballot and then mail or fax the ballot itself. For more, visit http://www.sbe.virginia.gov/cms/absentee_voting/index.html

LOCAL VOTING INFORMATION

Alexandria Board of Elections, 703-746-4050, http://alexandriava.gov/Elections

132 North Royal Street, Alexandria, 22314; FAX 703-838-6449; email tom.parkins@alexandriava.gov

Fairfax County Board of Elections, 703-222-0776, www.fairfaxcounty.gov/eb/

12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, Suite 232, Fairfax, 22035; FAX 703-324-2205; email voting@fairfaxcounty.gov

Arlington Board of Elections, 703-228-3456, http://www.arlingtonva.us/vote, 2100 Clarendon Blvd. Suite 320, Arlington, 22201; FAX 703-228-3659; email voters@arlingtonva.us

City of Fairfax General Registrar, 703-385-7890, http://www.fairfaxva.gov/Registrar/GeneralRegistrar.asp

10455 Armstrong Street, Sisson House, Fairfax, 22030; FAX 703-591-8364; email kevin.linehan@fairfaxva.gov

More information at http://www.connectionnewspapers.com/news/2012/aug/28/how-register-vote-and-vote-early/