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Final push for early voting on across Wisconsin

October 29, 2018
Wisconsin Democratic candidate for governor Tony Evers speaks at an early voting event on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, in Madison, Wis. Evers says he thinks the state's concealed carry law is working but he wants to be sure licensing requirements are adequate. (AP Photo/Scott Bauer)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Democratic candidate for governor in Wisconsin, Tony Evers, who has reported raising $8 million since his primary win in August, urged college students Monday to vote early ahead of next week’s election.

Evers, the state superintendent, is locked in a tight election battle with Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who is seeking a third term. Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, who has consistently led in polls, faces Republican Leah Vukmir, a state senator.

Evers joined with University of Wisconsin-Madison students to urge early voting at one of three sites on campus. On Tuesday, he and Baldwin are scheduled to join former Vice President Joe Biden at early-voting rallies at a UW-Madison dining hall and at a Milwaukee union hall.

“I’ve been around a long time, and I’ve seen how every election they say this is a time that young people are going to stand up and take control of the election, and every time afterward it’s like, people didn’t vote the way they should have,” Evers said Monday. “But this time I think it is different.”

Evers held the event after his campaign said he raised $6 million between Sept. 1 and Oct. 22, bringing his total since the Aug. 14 primary to roughly $8 million. Neither Walker nor Evers had filed the report that was due by the end of Monday, but Evers said in a statement he had received more than 48,000 donations over the seven-week period.

Through August, Walker had raised nearly $24 million compared with $3 million for Evers up to then.

That fundraising advantage has helped Walker dominate the airwaves. On Monday, Walker released his 33rd television ad of the campaign, in which he touts his record and asks for support.

“Let’s finish what we started and keep Wisconsin working for generations to come,” Walker says, looking into the camera.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump’s son, Eric Trump, planned three campaign rallies across central Wisconsin with Vukmir and U.S. Reps. Sean Duffy and Glenn Grothman. That comes after the president held a rally near Wausau last week with Walker and Vukmir that attracted thousands of supporters.

Friday was the deadline to register to vote absentee ahead of Election Day. In-person early voting is available in some parts of the state through the weekend, but those voters must have registered by Friday. Voters may also register at the polls on Election Day, but candidates prefer to get them to cast ballots early to secure their vote and to avoid any last-minute problems that could prevent them from following through.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission reported that, as of Monday, 363,322 absentee ballots and been requested and 297,011 had been returned. In 2014, there were 374,294 absentee ballots counted of 2.42 million cast.

It’s impossible to know whether early voting is favoring Republicans or Democrats in Wisconsin because voters do not register by party in the state. Comparisons with ballots cast at this point in 2014 are unavailable because election clerks weren’t required to track absentee voting daily until 2016.

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