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Absentee Voting Down in Fairfax County, Up in VA

VPAP reports Virginia has seen a 2 percent uptick in absentee ballots from 2008.

Update (4:15 p.m. Nov. 5, 2012) Absentee voting in Fairfax County is down about 2.7 percent from 2008, according to numbers released by the Virginia Public Access Project on Monday, Nov. 5, 2012.

In 2008, 83,523 county residents cast absentee ballots, compared to 81,273 in 2012.

But while absentee voting in Fairfax County is still down slightly, early voting in Virginia is up overall from rates in 2008.

VPAP reports that as of Nov. 5, 2012, absentee voting is up about 2 percent in the Commonwealth. Of Virginia's 5.4 million registered voters, 427,987 have cast absentee ballots.

The earlier version of this story reported numbers through Friday, Nov. 2, 2012.

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While people across the country may be turning out in large numbers to vote early, absentee voting in Fairfax County is down slightly from the 2008 presidential election.

As of Nov. 2, there were 666,612 active voters in Fairfax County, of 738,107 total registered county voters --  about 13.7 percent of Virginia’s 4.8 million active voters.

Fairfax County had received 64,259 completed absentee ballots as of 3 p.m. Friday, which amounts to 9.6 percent of the county's active voters.

Fairfax County residents cast 100,691 total absentee ballots in 2008, according to the Cook Report Absentee Ballot Tracker, which means that as of Oct. 30, absentee voting was down more than 14,000 ballots in Fairfax County from 2008.

The Cook Report also shows early voting is down more in localities that went Democratic in the 2004 and 2008 elections.

Areas in Virginia that voted for Obama in 2008 were saw a decrease of about 14 percent in absentee voting, while areas that voted for McCain saw a much smaller decrease of only 1 percent.

Hurricane Sandy forced polling locations to close up and down the East Coast last weekend, but it’s unclear whether the storm will have negative impacts on absentee turnout.

Michael McDonald, a professor at George Mason University who studies early voting, didn’t think Sandy’s effects would be felt in the long run.

“[Polling places] have since reopened and there will be extended hours this weekend and that’s also when we expect the highest volume of early voting, so it balances,” he told Patch on Friday. “I would not think that there’s going to be much of an effect on early voting due to the hurricane.”

McDonald also pointed out early voting isn’t as weighty in Virginia as it is in other states because residents of the Commonwealth are required to have an excuse to vote absentee.

“It’s all going to come down to Election Day in Virginia,” he said. “They’re not as valuable as some other states, where you have a much higher volume of early voting.”

Check back with Patch throughout the day Tuesday for coverage from the polls and results from your area.

jesse grant November 05, 2012 at 02:28 PM
I know of 6 people who have not recieved ABSENTEE BALLOTS who requested them even my son & a bunch of his friends who go to Coastal Car. Universty are in the same boat. I have called REpublican Headquarts 2 times to no evail. Do you really want a good turn out? maybe thats why absentee voting is down
Jim Swift November 05, 2012 at 10:12 PM
Had a friend whose request to vote absentee was rejected by the Fairfax Election Board. Letter said it included new application (it didn't) and also a leaflet about why he -- an absentee voter -- should volunteer at the polls. The letter arrived Saturday. Great job, Fairfax!
T Ailshire November 06, 2012 at 02:21 AM
Why would you call Republican headquarters for a ballot issue? It's a state issue at this point, not a party issue. Perhaps the voters who didn't get the ballots should make their own phone calls.
John Farrell November 06, 2012 at 04:17 AM
The mismanagement of both the in-person and mail-in absentee process this year should be an embarassment to the entire County government. Whether it's the immigrant couple at North County who were yelled at by an election officer that "Virginia doesn't have early voter" and turned away chagrined or the college student away from home whose application was mailed in September and still hasn't received their absentee ballot, this year's election has been a fiasco. And it is my belief that this was the intended result of voter suppression expert Hans Von Spakovsky, Vice Chairman of the Fairfax Electoral Board, his minion, Cameron Quinn, the General Registrar who worked in the infamous USDOJ under Gonzales. It is past time for them to both resign.

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