[media-credit id=11 align="alignleft" width="300"][/media-credit]Mayor Tom Barrett and former Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold spoke briefly on campus to a small group of students Tuesday to urge early voting in the upcoming presidential election.
Both stressed President Obama’s track record of helping students, mentioning the Affordable Care Act that covers people on their parent’s insurance plans until age 26, and continuing support for Pell Grants for students to go to college.
Around 40 people watched in Spaights Plaza as both politicians went into detail about early voting. Last election the state of Wisconsin allowed 21 days of voting before the election; this election the window for early voting is 10 days before the election.
“That wasn’t done by accident,” Barrett said of the policy change. “That was done to make sure it was more difficult for students, for elderly, for people with disabilities, for low income people to vote.”
Feingold said he spent 18 years in the United States Senate in significant part because of Wisconsin’s students and specifically students at UW-Milwaukee.
“You always had my back,” he said.
“Wisconsin by many accounts could be decisive. Some people say it’s all down to Ohio and Wisconsin. That means whether or not the students at UWM turn out could be decisive. That might sound like a joke. But I won my first race by 31 votes out of 47,000.”
Communications Director of College Democrats of Wisconsin Bill Neidhardt said there was a groundswell at Wisconsin’s universities of voter registration.
“Now we have to get students to vote early,” he said. “That’s what these two Wisconsin legends are talking to students about.”
After the event the College Democrats had a bus waiting to bring students downtown to vote early at City Hall.
Sarah Kallas, a freshman in the School of Heath Sciences went to the bus to vote early.
“Early voting is a good way to stick it in Republicans faces,” she said.
Freshman Gretchen Schmook is trying to become more involved in politics.
“This was really exciting,” she said. “Students are the future of our country, so we need to be involved.”