D.C. Residents Can Cast 'Absentee' Votes Today

By Hamil R. Harris
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 20, 2008

Voting in the presidential election starts today in the District of Columbia. According to the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics, any registered voter can cast a walk-in absentee ballot at board headquarters until Nov. 3.

Those requesting absentee mail-in ballots have until Oct. 28 to pick up the application, which must be postmarked by Nov. 4, Election Day.

"The board is very pleased with the progress that has been made in preparing for the November election," said Errol R. Arthur, the board's chairman. "We are confident that we will have sufficient poll workers, staffing and ballots in all of the District's 143 polling places."

D.C. election officials, who have faced withering criticism from residents and the D.C. Council for recent missteps, said they have recruited 300 more poll workers, created a better system of checks and balances, and developed a plan to release voter results in smaller, more-frequent increments.

"The big thing is that we will be unloading our results twice, on a regular server and a backup server," spokesman Dan Murphy said. "We will compare the results before we release the results, and we also have a checklist that must be signed by the board's executive director and chairman."

There were 331,000 people registered to vote in September's primary. Murphy said the board is preparing for a large turnout for the general election and has more than 600,000 ballots prepared. Voter registration for the general election ended Oct. 6, but the board said it is still tabulating those registrations.

The board's headquarters is at 441 Fourth St. NW.

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