Some Virginia counties cancel in-person absentee voting

Posted at 12:08 PM, Oct 29, 2012
and last updated 2012-10-29 12:08:02-04

By Kevin Bohn, CNN Senior Producer

(CNN) — Ten of the 95 counties in Virginia have cancelled in-person absentee voting for Monday, according to the State Board of Elections.

The voting has not been cancelled state-wide. The counties include Virginia Beach, Suffolk County near Norfolk and several in the greater Washington metropolitan area: Fairfax and Loudoun. Decisions are being made on a daily basis.

The state’s Board of Elections (SBE) said in a statement posted on its website “unless conditions render the voting process unsafe for general registrars and employees and voters, SBE encourages general registrars to keep the general registrar office open and to continue the in-person voting process.”

It also said it is “closely monitoring Hurricane Sandy and working to minimize any potential impact the storm has on absentee voting and preparations for the November general election.”

Virginia is considered one of the closest swing states this election cycle, and both the Obama and Romney campaigns cancelled events in the state because of the impending storm.

Election officials said they had been given assurance the registrar offices and more than 2,500 polling places will be given “high priority” for restoration of power if they lose electricity during the storm.

Asked what happens if some voting centers don’t have power on Election Day, Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell said on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday he doesn’t anticipate a problem. Some Virginia residents have seen some power outages lasting almost a week in recent months because of storms.

“We have contingency plans in place…we’ve got about 2,000 additional people that are coming into Virginia to help our power supplies. And the state Board of Election is already planning for extended hours in advance for absentee voting, and it’s now a priority, moved up to the same level as hospitals and police stations to have power restored.”

To vote absentee in the state one must meet one of 17 eligibility requirements.

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