D.C. Voter Election Interest Runs High

The offices of the D.C. Board of Elections have been packed with voters casting absentee ballots for the Nov. 4th elections. Among those voting Tuesday were Joanne Simpson, 85 and her 96-year-old husband Robert Simpson. Video by Hamil Harris/The Washington Post
By Hamil R. Harris
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The District has 426,767 registered voters, the Board of Elections and Ethics said yesterday.

The board attributed the high number to the historic presidential race, though the board said it expects the number of registrations to drop once the rolls have been scrubbed.

Also, for the second consecutive day, the board's office has been swamped with in-person absentee voters, officials said.

More than 1,000 people have cast walk-in absentee ballots since Monday, the first day of in-person absentee voting, the board said.

The District has an official population of 588,292, and officials said the registration rolls will probably drop after the election Nov. 4.

"The normal process after each general election is that we conduct a canvass of the list and will remove names at that point, and that number will go down," board spokesman Dan Murphy said.

The September primary had 331,000 registered voters. During the 2004 presidential election, Murphy said, there were 383,919 registered voters in the District. Murphy said 230,105 residents voted in 1994, including 26,657 residents who cast absentee and other special ballots.

Murphy emphasized yesterday that those voting in-person absentee must explain why they cannot vote at their polling places on Election Day.

"Under District law we have in-person absentee voting, not early voting, and the difference is that voters need a reason why they can't vote at their polling place on Election Day."

"I voted for Barack Obama," said Joanne Simpson, who is 85 and was in the office yesterday. "I might not be living on Nov. 4." She was at the office with her 96-year-old husband, Robert, who also voted absentee.

Murphy noted that those who want to vote mail-in absentee must have their applications requesting a ballot in the board's office by Oct. 28. Voters may also pick up an application until that date. The ballot must be postmarked no later than Nov. 4.

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