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Early Voting Gets Rave Reviews

James Wright | 10/30/2012, 10:36 p.m.

Queen said that elections officials didn't have enough machines to accommodate the crowd and while some walked away, most continued to stand in line and deal with the situation.

"Two years ago, hardly anybody voted early, so I was coming to vote while my daughter was in class," she said. "I will vote another time."

Stenbjorn said that early voting will end in the District on Saturday, Nov. 3, as scheduled, while in Prince George's County, early voting will be extended to Friday, Nov. 2.

The District counts among one of 32 electoral jurisdictions, the others being states like Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio and Florida that allows early voting. The D.C. Board of Elections started its early voting in 2010, and it has proven to be extremely popular.

"Early voting fits into my personal schedule," said Terrell Newkirk, who voted on Thursday, Oct. 25 at the Old Council Chambers at One Judiciary Square in Northwest. "I did not want to deal with the crowds on Nov. 6."

D.C. Board of Election executive director Clifford Tatum likes the city's response to early voting.

"It is going extremely well in the District," said Tatum, 47. "We have had 1,000 voters a day since it started on Monday [Oct. 22]. We, like the other states that use early voting, like it because it is a convenience to people who will have a hard time getting to the polls on Election Day."

Walter Garcia, an advisory neighborhood commissioner candidate for Ward 7, stood in line on Saturday with scores of residents at the Dorothy I. Height/Benning Library in Northeast.

Garcia, 48, said that convenience wasn't the only reason he took advantage of early voting.

"I am here to vote so I can work to get people to the polls on Nov. 6 so they can vote for Ron Moten for the city council," said Garcia who also lives in Northeast. "On Nov. 6, I will be knocking on doors and informing residents of the ward about Ron and will probably help some people get to the polls."

Kelvin Ridley, who voted on Thursday, Oct. 25, has the same idea as Garcia.

"I wanted to vote early so I can get out to Virginia and help President Obama," said Ridley, 47. "I plan to help the president on Nov. 6 by making sure that people get to the polls."

Nichelle Payne, a Southeast resident, voted early on Thursday, Oct. 25 to help her candidate win.

"I did it to make sure that my vote counted for my candidate, Michael Brown," said Payne, 21. Brown is an at-large D.C. Council member who is running for re-election as an independent.

Newkirk said he's sold on early voting.

"It was a smooth process and I absolutely recommend early voting to anyone."