As the effort to force a recall election of the governor enters its final week, volunteers on both sides of the process are ramping up work to try to get their message out.
Ray Coleman, a recall volunteer, has been setting up along Whitney Way just south of the Beltline to collect signatures to recall Gov. Scott Walker.
"Our first day we got two signatures, but part of it is just being here," Coleman said. "We figured even if we got no signatures it was worthwhile."
Coleman instead has collected nearly 200 signatures in his daily shifts on the side of the road, gathering surprisingly more in the waning days of the effort.
"Yesterday I got 13. The day before we got 15. So we've gotten about 12 a day on average for the last four days," said Coleman.
His signatures will then go to a processing office, where volunteers comb them for errors or omissions and enter them in databases.
"The Government (Accountability) Board has certain tasks they have to perform to see that these are legitimately signed petitions, and it is our role to make that job easy for them in some sense," said John Roseberry, a volunteer working in a processing office. "That makes their life easy and helps us, because we want legitimate signatures because we want a recall election."
Organizers need 540,208 signatures by Jan. 17 to force a recall later this year.
But efforts are now also ramping up in Republican offices. An office in Fitchburg is one of 10 statewide where volunteers will not only prepare to review signatures, but prime voters for an election.
"For us, we're not just going to sit by and allow them to take over state government," said Brian Schimming with the Republican Party of Wisconsin. "We want to ramp up our volunteers and everyone who was involved who helped the governor last fall, and a lot of people who are stepping up now."
The deadline to mail signatures in to United Wisconsin, the group behind the recall effort, is Jan. 10, and Jan. 13 is the last day volunteers can drop off petitions at recall offices. The committee will spend next weekend processing the signatures so they can be turned into the Government Accountability Board the following Tuesday.
Then the GAB will start work verifying signatures. The board will announce its new plan for how it will do that at a board meeting on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Republican Party said it has hired thousands of workers across the state to verify signatures for the campaign.