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Early voting continues for recall election despite holiday

Recall election set for June 5

MADISON, Wis. - The recall campaign is entering its final week and despite the Memorial Day holiday, campaigning and absentee voting continued on Monday.

Early voting started just a week ago, but there are already thousands who have cast ballots in the six races targeting Gov. Scott Walker and five other Republican lawmakers, according to election officials. Some were even spending their holiday doing their civic duty.

Those seeking to cast a ballot were waiting up to a half-hour to vote at the Madison City Clerk's Office on Monday, which was open from 9a.m. to noon. The clerk said that turnout is on pace to compare to a presidential election, with more than 1,000 people filling out absentee ballots just this weekend and more than 11,000 distributed since early voting began.

"For a presidential election, we'd see turnout like this for a weekend of voting," said City Clerk Maribeth Witzel-Behl.

For some, the early recall election vote is simply convenience. For others, it's a necessity. Carol Chellew, who voted Monday morning, said she will be working on June 5. George Silverwood, of Madison, who was also casting a ballot on Memorial Day, said he'll be out of town.

"In this particular election, I'm more committed than some other times, but it is just more convenient," said Silverwood.

For the campaigns, Marquette University Law School Professor Charles Franklin said early votes are like money in the bank.

"If you've identified the voters, they've gotten to the polls, you know those are votes cast that you worry a little less about whether or not someone will show up on election day," said Franklin.


Nevertheless, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who is running against Walker, continued to get out the vote at Bratfest in Madison.

"We don't know who they are voting for," said Barrett, of the early voting numbers. "But, we are making every effort we can to make sure people vote. Whether they vote early or they vote on June 5, I want people to vote."

Walker took the day off campaigning, spending the day at official Memorial Day ceremonies and taking no questions from reporters. But as the two candidates continue their work, the votes are already rolling in.

It's unclear who the early voting may help, but it is likely indicative of a big election day turnout, WISC-TV reported.

"I think people care about this election on both sides and they're going to get to the polls one way or another," said Chellew.

The clerk's office said they'll likely top the number of absentee ballots handed out during the 2010 gubernatorial election in four weeks time, which was just more than 12,000. Absentee voters can still turn in ballots early until Friday.

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