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Absentee voters face long lines in Va., sign of voter turnout

Kathy Stewart, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – Campaigning for the White House is in its final days. But in the Washington-area, voting in this presidential election already wrapped up for some.

Virginia doesn’t have early voting, it has absentee voting. Saturday was the last day for in-person absentee voting across the state.

At the Fairfax County Government Center, the long lines to vote absentee were too much for some. Mark Gorri has his two young children with him, a six-year old and a 21-month old. “The lines are a bit long to have kids. I’ll have to come back later,” Gorri says.

The Lopez family didn’t seem to mind the long lines. Victor Lopez says they waited about 30 minutes. His wife, Petronila Lopez says, “[It’s] not bad because it’s moving. It’s moving very fast.”

Their daughter Elizabeth Lopez agrees the wait wasn’t bad. “When you first get in there, you kind of see a long line but it’s pretty efficiently moving along.” she says.

Lines are long here at the government center and at the seven satellite locations, according to Merni Fitzgerald, a Fairfax County spokeswoman.

But Fitzgerald says they were ready for the long lines because this was the final day for in-person absentee voting.

“We have a number of people here but the lines are orderly. And if you are in line by 5 p.m., you will get to vote,” Fitzgerald says.

Fitzgerald says when it comes to absentee voting there’s no way to compare these lines with those back in 2008. But one thing is for sure, she says the population has increased in the county over the last four years.

In 2008, there were 665,674 registered voters and this year there are 738,174 registered voters in the county, Fitzgerald says.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)