The 2008 presidential election is still four days away, but as of Wednesday, 6,000 voters cast their absentee ballots in person at the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics headquarters.

An increasingly popular option in D.C. since its introduction before the 2000 election, in-person absentee voting has seen a “great” turnout this year, according to Dan Murphy, spokesman for the D.C. Board of Elections.

“We’re expecting a very large turnout this year because people are particularly interested in this election,” Murphy said. “We’ve had several hundred voters a day since we’ve started [on Monday, Oct. 20]. It’s been great.”

Given the popularity of the in-person absentee option, Murphy said that in-person absentee voters should expect to wait 45 minutes to an hour. Still, he said that most voters have stayed and waited to ensure that they successfully cast their ballots.

This year has additionally seen increases in the number of poll workers and volunteers at voting sites. “We’re looking at approximately 2,300 people working the polls on Nov. 3,” Murphy said. In the past, it was standard to have 1,300 or 1,400 election workers across D.C.

The in-person absentee voting option is not unique to D.C.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 31 states allow for some sort of in-person early voting. In D.C., early voters need to provide a rationale for why they must vote absentee – such as travel, hospitalization or employment as a poll worker.

Georgetown students who qualify to register as voters in the District of Columbia have had mixed reactions to the in-person absentee voting option.

ark Kavulich (SFS ’10), a resident of Pennsylvania, has decided not to take the in-person option. Simply mailing in the ballot, Kavulich said, would take less time than going to the BOEE.

Katie Hennessy (COL ’10), on the other hand, voted in person this past weekend in her home state of Illinois. “I think it’s a more reliable and convenient option. It was so easy, and with the election coming up so soon, I’m feeling relieved to have already voted,” Hennessy said.

“In-person absentee voting is just a way to make it easier for people to vote, it’s a convenience for the voter more than anything else,” Murphy said. “The jury is still out as to whether early voting increases turnout. It just makes it easier for people who are going to vote anyway.”

In-person absentee voting is offered at the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics headquarters located at 441 4th St. NW, Suite 250 North, near the Judiciary Square Metro stop. It will continue to be offered until Monday, Nov. 3 and can be completed Monday through Saturday, from 8:30 a.m. until 4:45 p.m.

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