Have you ever asked someone for their autograph?
If the answer is “yes,” then you have all the skills necessary to participate in the vital activity of signature gathering.
We need a lot of autographs.
As we approach the deadline of August 2nd, the GRP aims to collect 7,000 signatures to put two candidates on the November statewide ballot. At present, we’re about halfway there, which makes July pivotal. If you’ve never participated in this pursuit have no fear – with a little free time, you can recruit a friend and attend a local event or establishment, mixing signature-gathering with regular fun.
Imagine the feeling of pride and accomplishment if you’re able to cast a vote in November for a candidate that you helped get on the ballot. But tomorrow’s successes depend on today’s actions – your efforts are needed.
“This is about engaging the public in the democratic process,” says Rick Purcell of Holyoke, Male Co-Chair of the GRP. “Knowing that you helped participate in the democratic process and got someone on the ballot is significant. At the end of the day, it feels good to gather signatures. It will feel even better if we have our candidates on the ballot.”
“We’ve made great progress so far, and we need to accelerate that in order to reach our goal,” says David Spanagel, Chair of the Elections Working Group. “We need to stay focused on conducting the remainder of the work to be done. We need people to step up and fill the gap.”
By current calculations, we need to compile about a thousand signatures a week for the month of July. If you are interested in helping with signature gathering, you can contact Spanagel by email at [email protected] He is able to answer your questions and provide you with all the necessary tools.
Events such as festivals and parades are good opportunities for signature-gathering, as are supermarkets. You can set up a table and chairs or you can canvas the area on foot.
“If you’re at an event with food trucks there’s usually a lot of people in line, so you can approach people who are just waiting. You won’t be interrupting them or bothering them,” Purcell says.
As someone with a large amount of experience in signature gathering, Purcell has advice for those who are new to it.
“Keep your spirits up,” he says. “Some days will be better than others and some locations will be better than others. Some cities are more welcoming and like-minded than others. If someone doesn’t want to sign, be friendly and move on to the next person.”
It’s a state law that you don’t have to get permission to do signature gathering, but the GRP practice is to inform a store owner or manager of your intentions.
“This is what democracy is all about,” Purcell says. “It’s a fundamental thing.”
Two members of the Southeast chapter of the GRP recently had positive experiences with their signature-gathering efforts.
“While the primary goal is gaining ballot status for November, the important secondary goal is introducing the GRP into the awareness of local citizenry,” says John Blumenstiel, who has been gathering signatures at the MBTA Commuter Rail station in Brockton. “While many of the people I have approached are not yet registered voters in the U.S., there is strong interest in third-party inclusion.”
“We had two wonderful days,” says Eileen Wheeler Sheehan, Co-Chair of the Communications Committee who helped collect signatures at Pride festivals in New Bedford and Fall River. “Perhaps the most special thing was when we had conversations with people and told them that our candidate for Secretary of State (Juan Sanchez) is very much an advocate of gay rights - they immediately said, ‘Oh yes, please let me sign!’ It was a fortunate coincidence to be collecting signatures at these events.”
Another positive development is the establishment of Guerin as Treasurer for the campaigns of Gloria Caballero Roca for Auditor, and Sanchez for Secretary of State, enabling people to donate to their State House pursuits.
“We don’t take any corporate money or any money from corporate lobbyists,” Guerin says. “We’re looking for donations from the people – regular people. The accounts are open.”
Please mail a check to each of the following funds:
Committee to Elect Juan Sanchez
Caballero Roca Candidate Committee
both to the same campaign address:
256 Pleasant Street, Suite # 408
Northampton, MA 01060
Be sure to include your name and address where you are registered to vote, along with your employer and occupation, per election regulations.
*According to Massachusetts law, individuals may give no more than $1000 in a calendar year to any candidate for state/local office. Note, in addition, that our Green-Rainbow campaigns do not accept any contributions from:
1) registered lobbyists, or
2) officers and political action committees (PACS) of for-profit corporations that employ registered lobbyists.