Collecting Petition Signatures
The Prep and Approach
First thing's first -- ensure you have a comfortable grasp of the ballot initiative -- the language, its effects, why we need it, etc. You'll grow a solid understanding the more weekly ambassador meetings you attend and the more questions you get answered (from other ambassadors, your regional coordinator or anyone from the campaign). Second, if and whenever you're out and about collecting signatures, ensure you always have at least one copy of the full text of the amendment. This is available to print off the website and/or from your regional coordinator. Again, please ensure you're comfortable explaining what each provision means in your own words. If you're going out in the FL heat, please be sure you're properly hydrated beforehand and have a water source and sun protection with you at all times. Whether you're at an event where you're "tabling" or "canvassing" (walking around talking with people), you'll likely need a few basic items with you: * Some indicator of your affiliation with the campaign (such as a t-shirt, sticker, badge or sign); * Again, water bottle / sun protection; * Enough blank petitions, clipboards and blue or black pens to last your intended volunteer time; * Informational handouts to provide folks to help them spread the word / look up the campaign later on, etc. All these items, save your personal water source / sun protection, are provided by the campaign (unless an ambassador would like to print out their own blank petitions, etc. -- just let us know!), so please coordinate with your regional coordinator to ensure you have what you need. When striking up a conversation with a total stranger, don't consider them strangers! Approach people as if they're a fellow Floridian who wants and needs clean water, ask them if they're a registered FL voter, and let them know their signed petition can help the Right to Clean and Healthy Waters get qualified for the 2024 ballot and then made into law in the FL Constitution. Every ambassador will develop their own favorite "opener," but the important thing is to be friendly and open to answering any questions if they want to learn more before signing. If you come across a question you're just not sure about, let them know you will "find out and report back" right away -- if they'd like to hold there for a couple mintues while you make a call / send an email, or if they'd like us to follow up with them over email (and please forward their email and question to email@example.com). If they start asking irrelevant questions or otherwise indicate they're not interested in signing or learning more about the petition, do your best to pivot back to the question -- "are you interested in signing the petition for the right to clean water"? While it can be uncomfortable to interrupt someone in what could become a lengthy monologue, please remember that YOUR time is precious as well, and it is campaign policy to respect each other's time.
The Form Fill-out
A few considerations when a registered Florida voter is filling out their petition: * Make sure they're using blue or black ink. * For mistakes: Strike with single line to cross out, and initial adjacently (without writing over any other print). If ink is too dark from extra scribbling, or any other random markings on page (if someone started to write, crossed it out, and started again next to it), they must initial next to it. If they mess up in more than two spots, it might be better to discard paper and fill out a new one (call it “practice.”) * If the pen is low on ink it could cause illegibility. Always keep fresh pens. * Make sure signer’s handwriting is LEGIBLE and clear enough to identify relevant markings (including name, DOB, registered address with zip, and date of signature. If signature is simply a line without much inflection, it can sometimes be rejected.) * Do not write over any printed part of petition. * Go by the last address where you are registered to vote (check available box to update – optional) * Date of Birth OR voter registration number. Both are not necessary, but at least one is needed for petition to count. * If filling out voter information for another person, (who for example is disabled or has trouble writing with a pen), then the signature and date of signature MUST be signed by the person for whom it is written. Do not fill in by computer before printing. It's best to print blank petitions and write in by hand. * Person signing MUST be registered to vote in FL. Help them check their voter status online if you have time. * If someone knows they are not registered but plans to be soon, direct them to the website and have them print a copy of petition and mail it once registered. It’s more efficient, less costly, and better all around, to have a low percentage of invalid signatures. Carry cards with you and remind people to register, then print extra petitions for their families to sign while they're at it. They might appreciate the motivation. After all, you’re leading by example. * Many people won’t sign because they’re afraid to give their personal info. Always be courteous and grateful for their interest. Inform them that the data is confidential and sent only to the election office, it’s not shared with anyone else. Tell them you understand how they feel and if they still refuse, kindly direct them to the website to learn about the campaign. They can print from home or sign up to our email list for updates and reminders. They can still educate others and promote the issue without signing anything, it helps to raise awareness however we can. * Name used on voter’s registration - (FULL NAME -If it’s Robert, don’t use “Rob”) * Check that ZIP CODE and County is written and is in proper place (not, “FL”, or “USA”, the election office knows it’s a state amendment. Encourage people to read what they’re signing if they’re just rushing through. This instills trust and inspires more engagement in general. Also, important not to leave those lines blank.) * If petitioning at a festive event and people are drinking, be EXTRA VIGILANT that these instructions are followed and info is CLEAR and CORRECT. * Only knowingly sign an amendment once. Unless the rare instance where the person had to re-register since they signed the first time, and they don’t think the first one counted. Only sign once (some sticklers could consider double signing as “election fraud”) * MAKE SURE TO CHECK these instructions were followed BEFORE the person walks away. Yes, that takes a bit of getting used to if you have multiple people signing at once, but you want your signatures to count. You’ll eventually get into a flow and get used to the practice. * Always stay positive and remember why you’re here.
Before the registered voter leaves, do a quick review of the petition to ensure it's legible, that they signed their name and dated today's date, and each block is apparently filled with the correct information. Confirm that the address is the one that's associated with their current county voter registration, as sometimes folks move and forget to update their address. (There's a box for them to indicate they'd like to update their address.) Ask if they have any questions, if they have anyone in their family that would be able to sign, or if they'd like to subscribe for campaign updates (see the website for easy subscribing) -- and thank them for their time. Secure the signed petition by whatever means may be appropriate. Some stick them in the back behind the clipboard's blank petitions or put them in a separate folder in a secure (monitored) area. It's important to always have "positive control" of them, among fellow ambassadors. If you don't know already, coordinate with your regional coordinator to identify the "next step" in how to process the signed petitions. There may be a local ambassador who will be taking them from you to review / "perfect" before submitting to the county Supervisor of Elections office. Or, the guidance may be to please hold onto them until such an ambassador is confirmed. There is no deadline associated with signed petitions circulated by volunteers, but we still want to process them in a timely manner. Occasionally ensure your regional coordinator knows how many signed petitions you have in your possession to keep the ball rolling! Finally, if you paid for the printing of blank petitions and would like to be reimbursed (up to a ream), please scan and forward your receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org for processing. If you'd like to print off more than a ream, please coordinate such logistics with your regional coordinator, as there may be a more cost-effective solution! Thank you SO very much for contributing your precious time in supporting this cause. We are grateful for every moment you give and every signature you collect. Please let us know if you have any questions, ideas or feedback you think may help improve future efforts.