Almost 1 million voters cast early ballots in D.C. region

Hank Silverberg, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – Almost 1 million people in the region have already voted for president and it could be an indication of heavy turnout on Election Day.

That figure comes from early voting in Maryland and D.C. and in-person and mailed absentee voting in Virginia.

Maryland’s Board of Elections says 430,573 people voted early in Maryland. In D.C. 52,000 voted early. And in Virginia, 363,225 people had voted absentee either in person or by mail, Virginia’s Board of Elections says.

Those figures do not include Saturday, the last day for in-person voting in Virginia.

In 2008, the last presidential election year, 417,251 Virginians had voted absentee by the Friday before Election Day.

University of Mary Washington political science professor Steven Farnsworth calls those numbers extraordinary.

“When you consider that in Virginia you have to go to the trouble of voting early, while in Maryland you just have to get in line.”

Virginia voters must cite one of 19 reasons in order to vote absentee. However some of the conditions are easy to meet, such as commuting more than 90 minutes from home.

Farnsworth says the high numbers for early and absentee voting across the region indicate heavy interest in the election. He says it’s a prediction of heavy turnout at the polls on Tuesday.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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