‘Your democracy needs you’: Statewide group urges people to vote early via ‘Pack the polls’ car parades

FITCHBURG, Wis. — “Unite 4 Democracy”, a statewide group, honored National Vote Early Day with statewide “Pack the Polls” car parades.

Organizers said voting is an essential part of a democratic society but that Wisconsin has struggled with voter turnout in the past.

“This is one of the first opportunities that people have to vote early, so we want to make sure that people have information on where they can vote, how they can vote, what’s required,” said Charlie Uphoff, the local parade’s organizer.

After decorating their vehicles with markers and “Vote Early” signs, participants headed out to the Allied Drive Neighborhood, bringing informational flyers with them to pass out along the way. Attendees said raising awareness about the impact of a single vote was key today.

“My special interest is in underrepresented communities…Black, brown, Latinx communities that feel as though they don’t have a voice and why bother? And it’s like no. We need you. You matter,” said Fitchburg area alder Dorothy Krause.

After completing their circuit, the parade paused at Allied Park where they were joined by other event collaborators including Allied Partners and Fitchburg Alderman Joe Maldonado.

“I think it’s one of our basic civil rights and privileges and something that a lot of the churches are very strongly behind, a big push for retaining democracy,” said Molly Plunkett, a member of Allied Partners.

Plunkett’s group brought supplies to make “dream flags,” a craft modeled after “prayer flags,” where people wrote their wishes for the future.

She said they also plan to take other measures in an effort to increase voter turnout: “We may try to help get people to the polls on Tuesday because for Fitchburg residents there aren’t I think, as many voting location.”

Uphoff said he hopes these efforts will have an impact on encouraging people to both get involved and stay involved in their democracy.