Final Day of In-person Absentee Voting Draws Crowds in Fairfax

FAIRFAX, Va. — All 10 of Fairfax County’s early polling places reported being very busy on Saturday, the final day of in-person absentee voting in Virginia.

Photo of line at polling center in Fairfax Co. Virginia
The line stretches through the Fairfax County Government Center, a polling place, on the final day of in-person absentee voting in Virginia on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016. (WTOP/Dick Uliano)

As of 12:30 p.m. Saturday, 4,000 people had cast in-person absentee ballots at the county’s early polling places, according to the county election officials. The polls closed at 5 p.m.

At the Fairfax County Government Center, voters waited patiently in a line that stretched from the polling place doorway and wound through the government office building.

“I believe this is a historical election, so I believe it to be my civic duty to come here today,” said Milad Tabatabai, a consultant who is traveling on business to Boston next week.

Under Virginia voting laws, voters need a reason to vote absentee, rather than voting in-person on Election Day.

Fairfax County increased the number of early voting days this year, added polling places and heavily promoted in-person absentee voting.

“Our numbers for absentee voting are up since 2012,” said Fairfax County General Registrar Cameron Sasnett. “We’re about 50 percent higher than we were four years ago.”

More than 100,000 Fairfax County voters have cast ballots so far, including in-person and mail-in ballots.

The high number could take some pressure off the polls on Tuesday, but election officials are not taking any chances in Fairfax.

“We are deploying nearly 4,000 election officers in Fairfax County. That’s the most we ever had,” Sasnett said.

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