Early voting begins in Wisconsin Rapids

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Early in-person voting is underway in Wisconsin.

Voting began Monday in Wisconsin Rapids. City clerk Paul Przybelski said about 25 people had cast ballots as of late Monday afternoon. Early voting is set to get underway on Sept. 26 in Madison and Milwaukee, the state's two largest cities.

Republicans passed laws in 2011 and 2014 restricting early in-person voting to the 10 weekdays between the third Monday before the election and the Friday immediately preceding it.

U.S. District Judge James Peterson struck down the limitations in July as part of a broad ruling invalidating a number of Republican-authored election laws, saying the restrictions on early in-person voting created a burden on voters and no weekend voting intentionally discriminates against Democratic-leaning black people in Milwaukee.

Now the only restriction on early in-person voting is it can't occur on the Monday before the election.

Przybelski told NewsChannel 7 Monday why he chose to begin the city's early voting now.

"I made a choice to start it earlier in an attempt to kind of space it out, give the voters more time to come into the office and cast a ballot."

Even with the expedited process, Przybelski said the voting process is still the same.

"We follow the exact same rules as the polling places would do. We make sure the voter has their ID, we make sure the voter is registered."

One the voter has submitted their ballot, it's put into a sealed envelope, and is not opened again until November. If a voter wishes to change their mind about a candidate, they cannot vote again.

That didn't bother Wisconsin Rapids early voter Robert Ceplina.

"I've got my mind made up," Ceplina said.

Click here for more information about your polling location, ballot information, and where to register to vote.