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Author Topic: Petitioning Season  (Read 3699 times)

Offline mcdirk

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Petitioning Season
« on: June 23, 2008, 11:54:55 AM »
Just wanted to spark a discussion about petitioning and how it works, what people know about it and think about it.

I've been petitioning for political candidates for 15 years and it's oftentimes laborious, but can be fun.  Under NYS law, candidates have to gather valid signatures of voters registered in the party in whose primary they wish to run in order to qualify for the ballot - this includes incumbents, so you see people out on the street and walking building to building with long green sheets, usually on clipboards.  As there are periodically challenges to petitions, and you have to have enough valid signatures (it varies by what office is being sought) in order to qualify, candidates usually gather two to three times the required number of valid signatures.  It's really arcane, signatures can be invalidated for any number of reasons.  While some folks stand at grocery stores and try to get anyone to sign, the best petitioning is done door-to-door, with a list of registered voters for your party.  I cover three to four election districts each cycle - this time carrying sheets for the Queens Democratic Slate (two judges, Congressmember Carolyn Maloney, State Senator George Onorato, Assemblymember Michael Gianaris, and all our party officials).  The page has to be folded in half to fit on a clipboard and even then it's too big. 

It's really an interesting experience - you ring the doorbell, ask for the registered voter and see if you can get them to sign.  Signing the petition only helps the candidates qualify for the ballot, it does not obligate you to support the candidate or vote for them.  You might, if the campaign is organized, get a thank you note from the candidate, but that's increasingly rare. 

I find the responses really interesting - some folks have lived in NYC for a long time and have seen petitioning every electoral cycle and sign immediately, and get other voters in their household to come to the door, which is nice.  Some like to talk, which is refreshing and often fascinating - I've met really great folks petitioning.  Others are very suspicious and have no idea why you are there and some refuse to sign, some politely, others in a brusque manner.  I found it really unusual yesterday how few folks had any idea of who their elected officials were - usually everyone knows Carolyn Maloney, some know George Onorato and an increasing number know Mike Gianaris, but I had at least 10 people who had not heard of any of them, though they read local newspapers and get all the franked mailings/reports from elected officials.  It was just unnerving.  One mad told me he wanted to google them all to see if they were really holding office.

Just wanted to see if folks had seen petitioners out on the street - what their reaction had been, if folks had been visited at home by people gathering signatures and spark some discussion.

Offline Harlan

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Re: Petitioning Season
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2008, 05:20:22 PM »
Sorta tangential, but I pass by petition-collectors on the street frequently, and almost always ignore them. As a matter of personal policy, I sign very few petitions, except for those for ballot access. Every other petition seems to me to be a waste of time. When's the last time a "save the whales/Tibetans/civil rights" petition made any difference whatsoever? (I support all three, incidentally.)

Offline TRX

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choose Frank Icus Re: Petitioning
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2008, 06:01:32 PM »
  Signing the petition only helps the candidates qualify for the ballot, it does not obligate you to support the candidate or vote for them. 

 You might, if the campaign is organized, get a thank you note from the candidate, but that's increasingly rare. 


 :mrgreen:
 :|

Thanks McD for sharing your note. Will reply a bit more another time.

Harlan, do you like kitties too? Now I am trying to think of when has a petition been worthwhile . . .
hmmm . . .
Maybe I can think of one, but not sure if it was really necessary.


On the question of googling a candidate, it reminded me:

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines/060100-02.htm

'Ficus For Congress' Takes Root In 24 Congressional Campaigns 

 
WASHINGTON -- A team of candidates for Congress, deeply rooted in the environment, is trying to strike a blow against incumbency.

But these challengers have to overcome unique disadvantages, such as an inability to speak and a need to be watered.




"The ficus campaign has recaptured voters' imagination in a way no other candidate can, by offering a real choice: politician or potted plant."
 

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BigBryan

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Re: Petitioning Season
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2008, 07:49:12 PM »
Harlan - I believe that was what McDirk was referring too. BTW I agree about the other "cause petitions" as a waste of time.

Last year a woman in Arab/Muslim dress asked me to sign some petition and I replied Yes If she will sign mine to stop Islamic oppression of women. Well she was very stunned that I could ask such a thing while she had no qualms about asking strangers ti sign for her cause,

Offline Harlan

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Re: Petitioning Season
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2008, 09:45:21 PM »
Harlan - I believe that was what McDirk was referring too. BTW I agree about the other "cause petitions" as a waste of time.

Yes, I know! I'll keep an eye out for ballot access petitions now that I know it's petition season!

I wish it were as easy to change things as just signing a petition, but alas, it's not...

Offline mcdirk

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Re: Petitioning Season
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2008, 07:39:57 AM »
yep, I was/am talking about nominating petitions for the upcoming elections.  I tend to sign a lot of the non-election related petitions, but I don't know that they achieve much unless they're targeting a specific local purpose to show community support.  I fear that signing them gets me more junk mail, in general, though nominating petitions do not generally get you more mail - they get filed with the board of elections (sometimes organized campaigns send out a thank you note for signing, though I've never seen this happen in Queens).

Offline TRX

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Re: Petitioning Season
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2008, 11:46:25 AM »

I find the responses really interesting

When does petitioning end for you?
First will be petitions for the major NYS parties:
Democrat, Republican, and maybe Independence, Conservative, WFP.
In July, we get to have independent petitions, LP, Green, etc.

My experiences have been minimal and started about 10 years ago. The whole process has been quite a learning experience and still is. I also imagine that it is very different for Dems in NYC and for the GOP outside of the metros. A few experiences seem surreal.


I dont expect most folks to be familiar with it anymore than I might expect them to be able to name relievers for the Yankees. That said, you find some voters are really engaged. And most are quite understanding of wanting to have a choice of candidates on the ballot.

However, after the 2000 election results, it was suprising how much hostility there was to having choices other than a Dem or GOP on the ballot. That if you want another choice, you and other voters would be better off not voting.
To be seen if that is still the case.

PS in some states, you might need only 25 signatures or maybe post a filing fee.
In OK, fuggedabout it.


http://www.ballot-access.org/

On NYS ballot requirements for Presidential candidates:
Quote
New York State requires 100 signatures from half of NY's congressional
districts.

Combined with the summer sun's warm aura, the aerobic exercise produces
a sauna effect that is healthful and invigorating. Petitioning rewards
the conscience, and excites one's philosophical enthusiasm. It is
difficult to imagine a more beneficial and rewarding activity, from both
a physical and mental perspective.

I like to call it "exercise for your franchise".

http://www.lp.org/ballot-access

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Offline FZ

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Re: Petitioning Season
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2008, 10:37:39 PM »
I was  doing it  this week, for  Thomas Dooley, running against  Onorato, try  being a Republican in NYC and getting  a petition signed?  :-P You want to talk about people  getting nasty.  :-D  Truth is  many folks  act as if they are 'gung ho' for  any side, but, when it comes  to the hard work of  signing petitions, you have  to be committed. Many people  have no problem  seeing me as  a person who  is committed... ahh,  to my  views, my views.  :lol:

Offline mcdirk

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Re: Petitioning Season
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2008, 12:27:11 AM »
Petitioning ends in early July.  Eager for it to arrive, though I still need signatures!

FZ - are the Republicans running candidates in all the races in Astoria or just against Onorato?

Offline mcdirk

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Re: Petitioning Season
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2010, 04:18:50 PM »
and it's petitioning season again, but at least the weather is nicer this year, though it always seems that the people who are in are on the top floors of buildings, never on the first floor (drat!).

Folks seem less inclined to do anything political this year - my refusal rate is much higher than I've ever seen before - it's sad to see people check out of the process.

Anyone seeing petitioners out and about?  Have any petition-folks come to your door?

Offline holyfrjole

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Re: Petitioning Season
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2010, 05:28:52 PM »
Anyone seeing petitioners out and about?  Have any petition-folks come to your door?

Not to our door, but we live on the top floor of a walkup in a building without intercoms, so if the doorbell rings and we're not expecting anyone/anything, we don't usually answer. We were, however, at Brooklyn Pride's street festival yesterday and the folks with petitions were out in force.

Offline kempsternyc

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Re: Petitioning Season
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2010, 07:41:58 PM »
LMAO.....I was reading through the thread and kept wondering why McDirk was petitioning for Onorato. It wasn't until I got to FZ's post that I realized the original thread was 2008.  :x

Anyway, my partner and I was stopped by JFP petitioners on 30th Ave by the subway and we both signed it.

If we get stopped by an AS petitioner, can we sign that one too? I'm a fan of signing all petitions regarding getting candidates on the ballot.

The more the merrier, I always say.

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Offline deaghaidh

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Re: Petitioning Season
« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2010, 12:49:50 AM »
If we get stopped by an AS petitioner, can we sign that one too? I'm a fan of signing all petitions regarding getting candidates on the ballot.

The more the merrier, I always say.

I think... and Dirk will know better... we can only sign one petition per office...like each candidate has to have so many unique signatures.  I'm sure both will get the needed numbers.  What will be interesting is if Ciafone's folks get enough sigs...

Offline kempsternyc

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Re: Petitioning Season
« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2010, 01:25:05 AM »
I think... and Dirk will know better... we can only sign one petition per office...like each candidate has to have so many unique signatures.  I'm sure both will get the needed numbers.  What will be interesting is if Ciafone's folks get enough sigs...

well, that is a shame that NY is less democratic than CA.

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Offline mjmurphy

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Re: Petitioning Season
« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2010, 11:09:28 AM »
Folks seem less inclined to do anything political this year - my refusal rate is much higher than I've ever seen before - it's sad to see people check out of the process.

I've seen this too, mcdirk. There's definitely a segment of the population that's gotten really cynical. They're telling me that politicians prioritize power over principles and have rigged the system to minimize the impact that ordinary people can have. Honestly, I've certainly seen signs of that. At your own swearing-in at Powhatan, I saw Club officials pledging allegiance to elected officials like Joe Crowley. That's just nuts. Elected officials are public servants and work for the people of our community--they owe US allegiance. But Queens Dems run things very top-down and I feel that places high barriers of entry to everyday folks.

On the other hand, even many of these disheartened people still sign my petition. And many of the people I encounter are downright enthusiastic about making a difference and happily take literature to learn more. So there's always hope!
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Offline mangopaco

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Re: Petitioning Season
« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2010, 01:27:07 PM »
My favorite part of petitioning is seeing how many Republicans there are in the neighborhood  :-D


It usually goes like this:

Petitioner: Excuse me, sir.  Are you a registered Democrat?

Guy trying his best to avoid petitioner: No, I'm a Republican.



If only another party actually had those kinds of numbers in the city...



Of course, my favorite answer is: I don't have time right now.  [walks away and then stops in front of a store to stare at purses for a couple of minutes]  :x




Offline mcdirk

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Re: Petitioning Season
« Reply #16 on: June 14, 2010, 01:28:31 PM »
LMAO.....I was reading through the thread and kept wondering why McDirk was petitioning for Onorato. It wasn't until I got to FZ's post that I realized the original thread was 2008.  :x

Anyway, my partner and I was stopped by JFP petitioners on 30th Ave by the subway and we both signed it.

If we get stopped by an AS petitioner, can we sign that one too? I'm a fan of signing all petitions regarding getting candidates on the ballot.

The more the merrier, I always say.



Yep, it was back in the days before he was a no vote on equality.

You can only sign one petition per office, so if you sign Jeremiah's petition, you could not sign Aravella's, though you could sign the slate petition and your signature would be valid for all of the offices listed, except for Aravella's bid for Assembly.  Hope that helps!

Offline mcdirk

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Re: Petitioning Season
« Reply #17 on: June 14, 2010, 01:35:57 PM »
I've seen this too, mcdirk. There's definitely a segment of the population that's gotten really cynical. They're telling me that politicians prioritize power over principles and have rigged the system to minimize the impact that ordinary people can have. Honestly, I've certainly seen signs of that. At your own swearing-in at Powhatan, I saw Club officials pledging allegiance to elected officials like Joe Crowley. That's just nuts. Elected officials are public servants and work for the people of our community--they owe US allegiance. But Queens Dems run things very top-down and I feel that places high barriers of entry to everyday folks.

On the other hand, even many of these disheartened people still sign my petition. And many of the people I encounter are downright enthusiastic about making a difference and happily take literature to learn more. So there's always hope!

Hope folks get less cynical and get involved.  Most of the people with whom I've been speaking are open to dialogue, even if they don't sign.  I met a couple yesterday who had never had anyone come to their doors with a petition in over 70 years in their home - we had a lovely discussion and they both signed.  Of course, I also had someone tell me he was calling the cops on me and going to have me arrested too, so you get all types.


 

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