By Barbara Maniotis
Edited by Jon Henrich
For first-timers 🙂
- Use a clipboard with a rubber band holding the bottom, so the wind doesn’t catch you off-guard.
- Use a cover sheet in a plastic slip, with a picture of the candidate and a little information. (Put finished sheets away when completed.)
- You are allowed to fill out spaces, except for the signature space, if the elector has trouble with writing. The information has to be legible.
- Put the candidate forms back to back. Have them sign each, but only put the address on the first. You can finish the rest. (Filling out multiple forms can be frustrating for them.)
- Wear a button, T-shirt, etc. to identify as a Green Party worker.
Where to Petition
Festivals, parks, universities, community events, libraries, bus stops, anywhere people gather in public in large numbers.
The most effective spots are where people are waiting around for something. I have gotten some of my largest numbers in front of food trucks.
Door to door is okay, but that’s probably a max of 10 signatures an hour as opposed to a max of about 50 signatures an hour.
Make sure to get all your family and friends to sign. They are easy yes answers for you.
Don’t be timid if anyone tells you to leave. Sidewalks, street festivals, parks, bus stops, outside University buildings are all fair game. Don’t let any security tell you off because it is one of your first amendment rights.
If they try to debate you, it’s usually best to walk away (They don’t want to sign, and they are wasting your petitioning time.)
Remember the Pillars
Be able to recite a few things about the candidates, and if you are at a loss for words, remember the four pillars:
- Social justice
- Ecological wisdom
- Grassroots Democracy
Tips from WIGP Cochair Dave Schwab
“Excuse me, hi! Are you eligible to vote in Wisconsin?”
If yes: “Great, can you help me out quick with a signature to get Green candidates on the ballot and give people another choice?”
I ask them to help me out, because psychologically people are more inclined to help someone who is volunteering on the street than to do something for a cause they likely don’t know much about. The word “quick” reassures them it won’t take long.
Many people support giving people more choices on the ballot, even if they don’t support the Green Party in particular. If they are reluctant, I repeat, “This is just to get them on the ballot and give people another choice, it doesn’t mean you have to support them.”
- Focus on the common ground of agreeing with more choices on the ballot. You will generally work more quickly and effectively this way.
- Remember: it’s a numbers game. Some people will say yes and others will say no, but if we ask enough people then we’ll hit our target.
- Don’t take anything personally, and don’t engage with grumpy people.
- Take inspiration from the supportive people.
- Plan enough time to hit your personal signature goal.
Four clipboards is a bit of a challenge, but it’s doable. I’ve been petitioning with Nathan Pelkey, and if it seems people’s enthusiasm is waning after the first couple of sheets, I mention that my friend Nathan (right over there) is running for State Treasurer. They’re more likely to make the effort if they see you know the candidate, or if they see the candidate is out there working to get on the ballot. Since many of us know at least one candidate we’re petitioning for, this could really help.
- Make sure you can read what they wrote before letting them go, because you’ll need to fill the rest in.
- Go out to events with a buddy or a team to encourage each other and show new petitioners the ropes.
Have fun and be proud of yourself for working for a cause you believe in!
Notes by Tom Rodman
Setup the context quickly in your opening line:
“Help us put Green Party candidates on the fall Wisconsin ballot.”
- We need 2,500 signatures to put the Green party candidates on the fall (November) ballot.
- Consider taking a small cardboard box to hold at least two clipboards each with your nomination forms, and several pens. You can put signs on the cardboard box to explain the goal.
- Carefully use blue Painter’s tape to anchor a sheet for a different candidate on both the front and the back side of the clipboard.
- Have a couple of index cards – if you can not read their printing, have them print their name again on the index card, and then correct the form later.
- Have the signer fill out one candidate’s nomination form in full. Next have them sign and print first and last name for all the other candidate nomination forms; then you fill in the incomplete fields on the other nomination forms, copying from their first entry. They need to sign each form at minimum, since the signature cannot be forged.
- Do not fill in the page number field in lower left. That will be done by other Greens before final submission.
- Do not put the date in, at the bottom, until you are done collecting signatures for that sheet. That date must be the same day or later than any signature on the form.