U.S. election sparks absentee frenzy

Oct. 19, 2004 at 3:32 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- Absentee and early ballots for the U.S. presidential election are being reported in record numbers from sea to shining sea.

With more than 5 million eligible voters living abroad and millions of others stateside voting early or absentee, elections officials from California to Maine say they're being inundated by requests this year compared to past elections.

Maricopa County officials in Phoenix have more than 487,000 absentee ballot requests compared to fewer than 76,000 in the 2000 election, the Arizona Republic reported Tuesday.

Los Angeles, which had a record 499,000 absentee applications in 2002, is up to 633,000, the Sacramento Bee said.

The Washington Post reports a record-setting 22,674 absentee ballot applications so far in Fairfax County, Va., and Hall County, Neb., says it has double the number of absentee ballots for this election as opposed to the 2000 presidential election, the Grand Island Independent says.

Arkansas is braced for 200,000 early and absentee votes, officials told the Little Rock Democrat-Gazette and Clay County, Fla., officials told WJXX-TV, they're seeing early voters "in droves."

Even Alaska is not exempt from the early voting frenzy.

"Each year I've seen an increase in absentee voting, but this year it is a significant increase," Election Supervisor Pam Crowe told the Juneau Empire.

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