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Fairfax Gears Up for Election Day

The county has acquired 187 new electronic polling machines since 2008.

As the Republican National Convention wraps up in Tampa, the Fairfax County Office of Elections is preparing for Election Day.

Gary Scott, the county’s deputy registrar, said he and his office are ready for a busy day and long night when Nov. 6 gets here. Election office employees will be handling results from the county’s 237 polling places, 187 of which will be equipped with electronic polling machines this year, Scott said.

“The biggest improvement we’ve made is the use of electronic polling equipment,” he said. The county didn’t have the machines at its disposal in 2008 – the Commonwealth of Virginia made them available in 2009 – so Scott anticipates results will be easier to count.

But while the electronic machines will alleviate much of the burden, there will still be paper ballots to count – thousands of them, in fact.

“We’re going to have several thousand paper ballots that are going to have to be hand-counted,” he said.

The office of elections will have anywhere from 60 to 70 employees working on site throughout the evening. About 40 people will be working the phones at Fairfax County Government Center, taking calls from media, candidate parties and more.

And the county’s polling places will be overseen by more than 3,000 election officers, many of whom are still being recruited, Scott said.

According to a release on the county’s web site, the office has five employees under the age of 30, who will be working alongside many veteran employees who have been with the office for more than 10 years.

Scott said there was no way to anticipate voter turnout during elections, but that Fairfax County has been fairly consistent in the past.

“Typically, Fairfax County will have a 75 percent turnout for presidential elections,” said. About 78 percent of registered voters in the county came out to the polls in 2008.

Elayne August 31, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Now lets hope they require ID Most people have ID of some kind. I am 62 years old and they want to see my ID in some resturants for a alchoal beverage. You cant fly on an airplane or do lots of stuuff.. Rich or poor come on its easy to get.
John Farrell September 02, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Anonymous Elayne brings up the alleged solution to the non-existent problem of voter impersonation (10 cases in 10 years among 146 million voters nationwide; 5 of those 10 cases were relatives of the voter). Voter ID is actually intended to solve the problem that people who don't have ID tend to vote against Republicans: the elderly, the young, the poor and the urban, all of whom don't drive. We know this because Voter ID laws only get enacted where Republicans control the state government. Thankfully, Virginia's ID law allows for the broadest range of alternate forms of ID of any of those voter suppression measures which is why the USDOJ isn't challenging it: utility bills or bank statements or government checks or paychecks so long as they have the voter's name and address on them. Virginia college ids will also work. So will the voter registration card that you get in the mail starting October 1. Instead of trying to exclude those voters, Republicans should try to become a national party again by advancing the interests of those voters instead of exclusively advancing the interests of the Koch brothers and their dishonest, bigoted, xenophobic, science hating, education denying, literalist allies who were on full display in Tampa last week.
Joseph Robert September 02, 2012 at 05:08 PM
John Farrell - You are SO CORRECT. Couldn't have said it better myself. Now people, get out there and Vote in November. It's YOUR RIGHT!
John Farrell September 02, 2012 at 05:20 PM
You don't have to wait until November, Mr. Roberts. Most Fairfax voters can vote early by in-person absentee. Starting September 21, anyone whose work and commute takes up 11 hours a day, even if they never leave Fairfax, can go to the Government Center near Fair Oaks Mall and vote in-person absentee. Starting October 17, you can vote in-person absentee at 7 different satellite locations throughout the County. There are 19 other reasons that enable you to vote early. Avoid the November 6th lines and vote early.

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