This advice serves as an addendum to the Petitioning Tips written by Dana Johansen.
Over the past year I have picked up what I feel, and have observed, as sound advice to successful petitioning, and thought it would benefit others as they venture “Once more unto the breach…” for the upcoming election season. For those who are planning to help with petitioning, here are some tactical points to keep in mind. Of course, there may be circumstantial situations where one or more of these tips are not appropriate.
Add a starter name (real or fake) to the top of the list with a Social Security Number. There is nothing illegal about scratching that name off the list before turning it in (just remember to do so). The herd mentality will kick in, and you are likely to garner more SSN’s on a page with them then without. Kind of “priming the pump” if you will. Of course, the importance of this tactic is for the speed with which a candidate can get confirmation on the number of valid signatures. The SSN, while not necessary, is another option for signature verification by the Registrar if the individual has the handwriting of a doctor.
When petitioning in front of a grocery store, etc., ask folks to sign as they are leaving. This will prevent “multiple” hits on people, which is likely to cause more irritation then necessary, and it doesn’t give them the chance to complain about being asked to sign a petition on their way into the store and past the managers booth. Folks who are irritable in general are not as likely to turn around and go back in to complain if they didn’t like being asked to sign … they are much more likely to just head to their car and leave.
If you have literature available to hand out, only do so after you have secured a signature, or, depending on the quantity you have available, hand out a pamphlet to them if they refuse … at least it will give them something to read and consider before blindly supporting one of the two Incumbent Party candidates. It is very important not to give them something before the signature, as providing a potential signer something to read gives them the opportunity to decline signing until they “have time to read the literature and find out more about the candidate.”
Try to petition at a grocery store somewhere in the center of the district. Doing so provides the greatest likelihood that the shopper will be from the district in which you are trying to secure signatures. Obviously important when estimating how much more effort will be needed without getting many more signatures then necessary.
Check out “Organizing a Petition Drive” on the National LP site for additional information on planning and carrying out a successful petition drive.