Groups push to get voters to polls early on Saturday

MILWAUKEE -- It's the home stretch. With election day a week from Tuesday, big names in both state and national politics took part in Milwaukee area rallies Saturday.

A crowd made plenty of noise Saturday morning at Red Arrow Par. Chants of "fired up! ready to vote!" filled the air as Citizen Action of Wisconsin led voters to the Milwaukee municipal building for its fifth early voting event. Accompanied by prominent Milwaukee Democrats like Mayor Tom Barrett, the group says its role is even bigger because of a perceived attack on voter rights.

"None of the suppression tactics - neither the IDs, the billboards, nor when CEOs send email messages full of lies - none of those things help increase people's ability to vote," said Jennifer Epps-Addision.

About seven miles north in Whitefish Bay, North Shore Republicans rallied around a pair of senators. Pennsylvania's Pat Toomey and Wisconsin's Ron Johnson energized the crowd with speeches highlighting the significance of the presidential election. Toomey dismissed claims of voter suppression.

"This is just ridiculous," he said, "There isn't effort I know of to suppress voters anywhere; this is an effort to educate people about the consequences. There are very different outcomes if we re-elect President Obama and have four more years of his failed policy.

The two groups did agree the race in Wisconsin will come down to which party does a better job of getting supporters to the polls. And the earlier, the better.

"You wanna make sure you don't show up on election day and all of a sudden, there's a problem with your ballot or registration," Epps-Addison said, "If you come early and there's a problem, you can register at the polls, if you didn't bring the right information, you can go home, get it and come back the next day so early voting is so important."

Early voting in Wisconsin began October 22 and runs through November 2.