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Nonetheless, local officials are girding for a high turnout on Tuesday. Virginia is a key swing state for the presidential race and has one of the country’s most closely watched Senate contests, between Republican George Allen and Democrat Tim Kaine.

“The purpose behind [absentee] voting is not necessarily to thin out the crowds on Election Day,” Mr. Riemer said.

While turnout is hard to predict, voters should expect the weather to be sunny. The D.C. region forecast calls for below normal temperatures with clear skies, before precipitation makes its way into the region in the following days, according to the National Weather Service. Its meteorologists say temperatures across the region should range from the 30s atop the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia to up to 50 degrees in areas east of the mountains.

“Dress warm. It will be really cool out there in the morning,” Mr. Tatum advised voters. “Bring your paper, bring your patience.”