City Sees Surprising Surge of Voters During Storm

WINCHESTER, VA - While most of the area shut down for Hurricane Sandy, local voting registrars were busier than expected.

"We were slammed," says Joyce Braithwaite, Winchester's Voter Registrar. "We had people coming in to vote absentee, and I think mainly the reason we had so many is because a lot of places were closed. Businesses were closed. People thought they would take advantage of their day off to vote absentee," she adds.

The registrar's office in Winchester says Monday was one of their busiest days this season. They've worked overtime trying to meet the demands.

"Tuesday was the last day to apply for an absentee ballot by mail," says Braithwaite. "We had a lot of faxes, a lot of phone calls, a lot of people coming in to fill out applications or to get applications," she adds.

For registrars who closed because of the weather, many elections boards are asking that they extend early or absentee voting hours. All offices in Winchester, Clarke County and Frederick County stayed open during the storms. They will not be extending their hours.

Despite having the option to vote, some decided to wait until the storm passed.

"I think Sandy deterred people," says Laura Peressini. "It definitely deterred us," she adds.

"I didn't want to come outside in the wind," says Ryan Cannon. "I had just come back from the grocery stores and Walmart and stuff like that. I saw how frantic people were."

"I think people were afraid of what the result of Sandy might be and that they may not be able to vote," says Peressini. "So, I think people as much as they could get out early," she adds.

Virginia's in-person absentee voting ends Saturday at 5pm. All registrar's offices will be open.

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