News from around Wisconsin at 5:58 p.m. CST

Wis. GAB: 545K have requested absentee ballots

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin election officials say more than 545,000 people have requested absentee ballots for Tuesday's election.

The Government Accountability Board said Monday 392,912 ballots had been requested in local clerks' offices and 152,148 ballots have been requested by mail and other methods. Ballots must be post-marked by Election Day and received in the municipal clerk's office by 4 p.m. on Friday to count.

Requests for absentee ballots could be higher than the numbers the board released. All local clerks are required to track military and overseas absentee ballots, but only about 350 municipalities track some or all absentee ballots in addition to military and overseas requests.

Voters in 2008 cast 633,610 absentee ballots, 21 percent of the 2.99 million total ballots cast.

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Obama, Ryan stump in Wis. on eve of election

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Bruce Springsteen returned to Madison on Monday to lend some rock 'n' roll star power to President Barack Obama's campaign, as Wisconsin remained in the spotlight in the waning hours of the 2012 campaign.

Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, a congressman from Janesville who joined Mitt Romney's ticket in August, planned to end his day of visiting battleground states with a homecoming rally in Milwaukee.

The attention on Wisconsin the day before the election speaks to how closely both campaigns see the race and the importance of the state's 10 electoral votes. The race for Wisconsin's open U.S. Senate seat was also hanging in the balance, with polls showing the contest between former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson and Democrat Tammy Baldwin as even tighter than the race for the presidency.

It all added up to an exciting, and expensive, campaign season in Wisconsin, which already weathered June recall election targeting Republican Gov. Scott Walker as well as several this year and last aimed at ousting state senators. All eight of the state's congressional seats, all 99 state Assembly seats and half of the state Senate were also to be decided Tuesday.

As summer slipped into fall and polls showed the race between Obama and Romney tightening, the two campaigns focused their efforts on winning Wisconsin and a few other battleground states. Obama visited Wisconsin three times in the five days before the election, bringing pop star Katy Perry with him on Saturday and Springsteen on Monday.

While Perry made headlines for wearing a skin tight mini-dress emblazoned with the word "Forward" -- which is both Obama's campaign theme and Wisconsin's state motto -- Springsteen opted for black jeans and a vest when he took the stage under a sunny sky and temperatures in the 20s.

About 18,000 people crowded around the stage, which was perpendicular to the state Capitol and a block down the street. Many who waited in line for hours to see Springsteen, who previously campaigned in Madison in 2004 for John Kerry and drew 80,000, said he was as much of a draw as the president.

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Springsteen plays 4 songs at Obama rally

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Bruce Springsteen plays four songs, does an impersonation of President Barack Obama and introduces the president before a crowd of 18,000 in Madison.

Springsteen took the stage around 10:30 a.m. Monday and joked about how early it was to be playing music, "particularly if you don't have a voice."

Springsteen played acoustic guitar and harmonica and opened with "No Surrender" followed by "The Promised Land." His third song had the refrain "Four More Years" and included the line "''So I came to Wisconsin looking for a date, we kissed and I said it was a hell of a state."

Springsteen closed with "Land of Hope and Dreams."

Springsteen and Obama were both also slated to appear in Columbus, Ohio, and Des Moines, Iowa, later Monday.

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Thompson says he's optimistic about Senate race

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Republican Tommy Thompson is expressing optimism about his chances in the race for the U.S. Senate against Democrat Tammy Baldwin.

While Thompson was talking about the race Monday on WTMJ-AM radio in Milwaukee, Baldwin was speaking at a rally for President Barack Obama in Madison before tens of thousands of people.

Thompson says he has logged 1,200 miles in the last three days and "the excitement is there." He says polls showing him behind to Baldwin do not pick up the enthusiasm he sees in the Republican base.

Baldwin says the election offers a choice between two visions of America, and she and Obama are fighting for the middle class.

She urged those at the rally to get out and vote on Tuesday.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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Wisconsin (change)

 
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Wisconsin’s population totaled 5,686,986, a 6.0% increase over the 2000 U.S. Census count of 5,363,715. (Source: Wisconsin Blue Book)
 
Offices & Officials

Governor: Scott Walker
Lieutenant Governor: Rebecca Kleefisch
Attorney General: J.B. Van Hollen

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