Town of Clyman clerk says Sen. Fitzgerald can vote at night, on weekends

TOWN OF CLYMAN (WITI) -- The state Assembly is about to decide whether casting an early ballot on the weekend or late at night is a thing of the past. Republicans are attempting to reduce early voting hours. They say their town halls aren't open on the weekend -- like polling places in large cities. FOX6 News is learning that while the lights aren't on, it doesn't mean rural voters can't cast ballots at night or during the weekend.

In the Town of Clyman in central Dodge County, life moves at a slower pace. The farming community, with fewer than 1,000 residents has its advantages.

"You go to church or you go to school and you know those same people," Town of Clyman Clerk Christine Spilker said.

Spilker says she doesn't think there is a face in town she doesn't know. She's about to see a bunch of them, with early voting underway for the spring election.

"As of today I have had two voters come through," Spilker said.

Some state lawmakers say one disadvantage to rural living is casting ballots.

"(Our constituents) turn to us for the answer saying 'what is going on? Why is there people voting in the city of Milwaukee on a Saturday afternoon when I couldn`t go to the Town of Clyman and vote right now? There is nobody there. The town hall is closed and the lights are off,'" Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said during Senate debate over the early voting bill.

Fitzgerald lives in the Town of Clyman. He and other lawmakers want to eliminate voting on weekends and late at night -- saying its a privilege country voters don't have.

"If anybody, even the senator, wanted to come down and vote on a weekend, he`d call and set an appointment, and we would make that work," Spilker said.

Spilker points out that rural voters can cast early ballots during "non-typical business hours" by appointment. It once worked for a beekeeper who had to vote around a honey harvest.

While Fitzgerald says he's fielding complaints, Spilker has not.

"No, not as of today," Spilker said.

Spilker says while there have been no complaints, she is in favor of changes. She says right now, she's not sure what would happen if someone demanded to meet on the weekend, and she was unavailable.

The early voting bill would eliminate what Spilker calls "grey areas."

Democrats argue reducing early voting hours is just an attempt to suppress urban voters who vote early in large numbers, and tend to vote Democrat.