Tips for County Committee Petitioning

Objective: In small groups, members are to review and discuss the scenarios. What was the main concept of the scenario? What were the do’s and don’ts? What could have been done differently?

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Julissa and Alec are both running for County Committee. They’ve decided to pair up and petition at a block party in their neighborhood. Since they were expecting a large turnout, they decided to bring multiple clipboards and pens. Alec hit it off with one of the neighbors.  It turned out Alec and Juan had a lot in common. During the time Alec spent speaking with Juan, Julissa was able to get seven people to sign her petition, and two people signed up to volunteer. What could Juan have done differently?

Do’s: Try to find spots where there is a lot of foot traffic; always have more than one clipboard; actively engage voters; for enthusiastic people, ask them if they would like to volunteer; prepare and rehearse your pitch (your pitch must be clear and short). See examples below.

Don’ts: Do not get caught up in long conversations.

Other: Do not get discouraged when you don’t get a lot of sign ups right away.

Examples of pitches:

  • I would like to represent our community on the most local level, will you sign my petition for County Committee?

  • Do you feel like your voice is represented in local politics? I along with other members of the party are looking to change that by getting on County Committee. Can I get your signature to get on the ballot?

  • Will you sign my petition for County Committee? A County Committee member helps dictate priorities for the local democratic party, and I would like to represent our community.

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Maya re-located from Atlanta two months ago. However, despite not being familiar with her new neighborhood, she is committed to helping her neighbor run for a County Committee seat. She’s decided to sign up for three evening shifts. On her first shift, she was given a tutorial and paired with a veteran organizer. On her second shift, her partner was running late, so she decided to get a head start and walked to the nearest train station. She was surprised to see how many people signed the petition. When submitting her sheet, unfortunately, one of the veteran organizers noticed that many of the signatures were invalid (addresses were abbreviated and quite a few of the signatures were signed in red ink). What are some tips for Maya to keep in mind during her next shift?

Do’s:  Show enthusiasm; always train new petitioners; try as much as possible to pair people together, and petition in high traffic areas (do research, location is key).

Don’ts: Avoid petitioning alone especially in the evenings. Refrain from using color ink outside of black or blue. Do not abbreviate addresses.

Other: Remember to ask if voters are registered Democrats and live in the area (sometimes people commute to work). Be sure to get full addresses; apartment numbers missing will throw out petition signatures.

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Tyler is ten signatures away from meeting his goal of being on the ballot. Despite the heat, he pushes himself to continue door-knocking. He rang the doorbell twice and didn’t hear anything so he started walking away. As he was walking away from the gate, a woman opened the door. In less than 2 mins, Tyler was able to get the woman to sign his petition. However, she had a lot of follow up questions (some of which Tyler didn’t know the answers to). What are some helpful tips for Tyler?

Do’s: Set a target goal for number signatures worth collecting; ring the doorbell more than once; have an elevator pitch prepared.

Don’ts: Don’t feel compelled to answer every question. Defer to talking points below.

Other: Refer them a website where they can learn more. Consider creating a one-pager handout with common FAQs to share with your neighbors, and/or feel free to share your email address where they can follow up.

Example of talking points:

  • These are all great questions, I wish I had more time to chat. However,  I have a deadline and need to continue collecting signatures. Here’s a one-pager with more information about County Committee, and my email address. Please email me your questions, and I’ll be sure to follow up.

  • I’m on a tight schedule as I need to collect X more signatures by the end of the day. Do you mind emailing me and I’ll be sure to follow up. Thanks again for signing my petition. Looking forward to staying in touch!

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Ayesha is excited to be running for County Committee. Much to her surprise, she’s had a pleasant experience getting people to sign her petition except for yesterday. After getting three “no”s, a neighbor expressed that she didn't trust signing anything for the government. The rejections made her feel like giving up. What could Ayesha say to her neighbor to make her feel comfortable with signing her petition?

Do’s: Be mindful of your body language. Always remember to smile and keep a positive mindset - this will reflect in your demeanor.

Don’ts: Don’t get discouraged or defensive.

Other:  Remind people that you understand the mistrust, but emphasize that the information is not going to be shared, and is strictly confidential. The signature is to get you on the ballot, and does not mean that they have to vote for you, though, of course, you hope they do.