Plan to vote? Why not vote early?

Early voting begins Oct. 22 in Wisconsin
Plan to vote? Why not vote early?

With early voting set to begin Monday in Wisconsin, candidates were working overtime this weekend.

On Saturday, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin campaigned in Janesville with retiring senator Herb Kohl.

Both encouraged early voting and the importance of getting out to vote.

“Early voting is about to start, people are very engaged, signing up for volunteer shifts, and it’s very exciting to see that last phase of the campaign underway,” said Baldwin.

Paul Ryan’s wife, Janna, stopped in Waukesha Saturday afternoon along with Republican senator Ron Johnson.

She took a moment to thank Wisconsinites for their support.

“On behalf of our family, I’d just like to extend a very heartfelt thank you for the prayers and support that you all have shown our family in the past weeks and months,” said Ryan. “It’s meant so much.”

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With both presidential candidates using much of the weekend to study for Monday’s debate, it was up to wives and running mates to rally supporters.

Vice President Joe Biden was at an Orlando campaign office to thank volunteers, and it was just revealed that Biden will make another stop somewhere in Wisconsin on Friday.

Biden’s wife, Jill, will be in Sun Prairie on Sunday.

Paul Ryan, meanwhile, spent Saturday morning in Pennsylvania before heading to the battleground state of Ohio.

Back in Ryan’s home state, passionate volunteers in Dane and Rock counties spent the weekend getting the word out about Monday’s early voting.

On Saturday, a rally was hosted at Beloit’s United Steelworkers Union Hall by a group called Minorities Organizing for Beloit.

“We’re not here to tell you who to vote for, we’re here to tell you to vote and your vote counts and it makes a difference,” said Linda Ward, organizer of Minorities Organizing for Beloit.

“We can’t stay home in 2012,” said resident Walter R. Knight. “We must get to the polls and cast our vote because it’s our constitutional right.”

Lucy Rodriguez said some Latinos feel intimidated by the voting process.

By casting her ballot early, she hopes to be available to help others on Election Day.

“I want to go early to help people,” said Rodriguez. “Don’t be afraid to vote. If they need me, I will be there.”

Campaign volunteers in Fitchburg, like college student and Romney volunteer Elena Santi, are also pushing voters to the polls ahead of Election Day.

“I’ve personally been a poll observer and I see how scattered those people are,” said Santi. “It [voting early] makes the process so much easier and faster.”

“Being a college student, it’s really sad to see people don’t necessarily pay attention,” continued Santi. “Because this election, more than any other, is definitely about the future, our future, you know.”

Many agree that no matter who voters prefer, it makes sense to vote early. 

“If you get out and vote early, you get your vote cast and you don’t have all that long waiting on Election Day,” said Ward.

“All you have to do is vote, go out and vote,” said Santi. “If you do it earlier and get it done you can do it within your own schedule.”

The Madison City Clerk’s office will be open later to take ballots: Starting Monday, the office will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays, and next weekend, the office will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

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