The long cold winter has finally passed and the leaves and flowering trees are flourishing.
We can enjoy the cool of the evenings as we sit on our porches for now, unmolested by hordes of uninvited visitors buzzing around and bothering us in our homes.
But soon it will be June again, and they will appear, clipboards in hand, asking us to sign petitions for our local candidates to appear on the ballot this fall.
Let's talk about why this, and they, are so important.
Designating petitions and the volunteers who carry them are the first signs of the Election Season. In order for a candidate to appear on the ballot, they must rely upon friends, neighbors, and potential constituents to allow them to do so.
A candidate must meet basic signature requirements for their name to appear on the ballot. Here is a table of current 2015 signature requirements:
Now that you know why they are asking you to sign the papers for your potential candidates, let's talk about who these people are that are carrying the petitions.
They are civic-minded people, donating their time (often in the sweltering heat or a thunderous downpour) to help a candidate get enough signatures to appear on the ballot. If they don't do their jobs well, their candidates don't make the ballot.
You don't have to sign their clipboards. If you do sign the clipboards, you aren't promising to vote for their candidate. You are simply saying they have the right to be on the ballot to represent your registered political party. But again, you don't HAVE to sign.
Decline politely, if that is your choice, and they will leave you alone. Please treat petition carriers with respect.
If you have already signed a petition for that race, you cannot sign any more petitions. Like voting, you only get one shot.
Some things to remember:
- You can only sign a petition for a candidate in your own party.
- You don't have to sign if you don't want to. Just politely decline.
- You can only sign one petition per race.
- Signing a petition does not promise your vote to that candidate.
Please enjoy your Spring, and be nice to those petition carriers!