2018 Nominating PetitionPeter D Color FlyerPeter D Black & White FlyerEmail / Volunteer Sign Up Sheet
Please check out this training video if you’d like to learn more about how to petition
Why we gather petition signatures
State law requires all candidates for statewide (and some other) offices to go through a rigorous procedure to get listed on the Major Party Primary ballots in June. First, the candidate must collect valid signatures equal to 2% of the number of party members who voted in the last gubernatorial primary. Only registered members of that Party can sign the petitions. In 2018, that number is 2507. Then, the potential candidate must get 20% of the votes cast at the Party’s PrePrimary Convention held in March of the election year. As a fallback, a candidate who does not get 20% at the convention can submit additional signatures totalling 4% of the voters at the last gubernatorial primary, in this case, 5015 valid signatures, and be placed on the primary ballot.
Our goal is to collect 10,000 signatures to ensure ballot placement. 10,000 is roughly double the more difficult 4% requirement. This is not because we anticipate getting fewer than 20% of the votes at the PrePrimary- we are already talking to likely delegates about the People First campaign- but because petitioning is such an excellent opportunity to talk to voters about Peter and to begin to line up support for the Primary and General Elections among everyday New Mexicans. Here’s three reasons why:
First, it is an easy ask. The only real commitment a petition signer is making is that he or she would like to see the candidate on the ballot. It’s about democracy – “do you believe Peter D should be placed on the ballot?”
Second, the encounter with a potential petition signer goes beyond that – it is an opportunity to discuss priorities – both Peter’s and the petition signers – which is why it is important to listen, and to take notes about those we engage. It is also an opportunity to provide literature and information about the People First campaign and to recruit volunteers.
Third, from a marketing perspective, it is one of the six or eight contacts everyone needs to remember Peter D and People First.
How we gather petition signatures
The most common way to gather petition signatures is to go where the people are, and in this case, where we expect to find Democrats and especially progressive Democrats. So, farmers markets, community events, shopping malls, theaters, concerts, fiestas, you name it.
Many of these venues, unfortunately, are considered private property. So we have to be careful about how we do things. Here are some recommendations. Always be polite to the people you approach- they are less likely to complain that way. Don’t block entryways or approach people actively shopping – remember, Commerce is King in America. Keep moving – a person with a clipboard loitering near an entrance draws the eye of private security.
For instance, hang around the movie theater entrance for a few minutes, then walk over to the front of a restaurant, then to another entrance, etc. Do not approach people in the parking lot loading their cars, or a person with four kids just trying to get her shopping done and get home. That said, approach everyone – don’t prejudge people – “oh, she doesn’t look like a Democrat.” As said above, every connection could be important down the line, even if we don’t get the signature.
There is another method we use to gather petition signatures, and that is to go door to door in neighborhoods. If you prefer doing that, we will provide you a list of registered Democrats, or if you are a Voter Registration Agent, a more general list. Much of what appears below is exactly the same whether you are canvassing neighborhoods or working at an event or public place.
For petitioners with smart phones, we can register voters right then and there on the Secretary of State’s website. We also have an app that will help us track people who want to become involved with the People First campaign.
What we say
Again, always remain courteous. Here is one sample script/encounter.
People First petitioner: “Good afternoon. Are you a registered Democrat in New Mexico?”
Potential Signer: “Well, yes. Why?”
PF: “I am gathering signatures today to help Peter DeBenedittis get on the ballot to run for governor. Would you be willing to help us out with your signature today?”
PS: “Well, I don’t really know anything about him”
PF: “That is ok- you are not committing to support him at the election. This is just to get him on the ballot next June. I am volunteering for him because I think he is a truly progressive candidate who can really help New Mexicans struggling with poverty and lack of health care”.
PS: “Well, ok”
PF: “Thanks so much. Please sign and then print your name and address legibly.”
Other scenarios differ. If you get someone very resistant or antagonistic, just wish them well and move on. If you get someone highly enthusiastic, ask if they will help petition or in some other way. Keep notes (electronic or old school) about potential volunteers. The key is to be polite, enthusiastic and focused. Your goal is to get as many valid signatures as possible, and to represent the People First campaign.
Please contact Rick Lass to turn in your petitions. Do not mail them.
Rick Lass, Field Director
Please let me know how it went. We’ll arrange a time and place to drop off completed petition pages.
Petitioning Dos and Don’ts
• Please present yourself well – you are an ambassador for the People First Campaign.
• Be polite and courteous to everyone you encounter.
• Familiarize yourself with the issues page before going out to petition.
• Carry plenty of petitions, pens, and campaign flyers, and blank paper to keep notes.
• Having a shoulder bag or backpack is helpful. And if you’re going out for a longer than an hour at a time, please remember to use sunscreen and carry water.
• Make sure top of petition is filled out completely before having anyone sign it. Please use only the petition provided on our web page. If you cannot print it yourself, we can mail you some.
• Ask each potential signer “Are you a registered Democrat in New Mexico?” If not, ask if they would like to register. One must be a registered Democrat to sign the petition and to vote in the June primary election.
• Become a Voter Registration Agent [VRA] as soon as possible OR carry a smart phone with a link to the Secretary of State website where people can register online.
To become a Voter Registration Agent you’ll need to go to your county clerk’s office during business hours and tell the clerk you would like to become a VRA.
• If you’re carrying a smart phone to register people or change party registration, the website address is:
• If a registered Democrat (even if they register right then), ask if they would be willing to sign the petition to get Peter D on the Democratic primary ballot. [Note: if they hem and haw about not being sure who they support, remind them that this is just to get Peter on the ballot.]
• When they say yes, hand them the pen and petition and ask them to sign first, then print legibly their name and address. Emphasize legibly – if the person checking the petitions can’t read it, it won’t count. Also, ask again if the person signing is a registered Democratic party voter.
• In the rare case of a sight impaired or elderly signor, you may have them sign and then fill in the name and address. Only do this if necessary.
• Also, be sure to let people who ask know that they can only sign one petition for each office. So if they’ve already signed some else’s petition for governor, they shouldn’t sign Peter D’s.
• Carry two clipboards, so that when you run into couples or groups they can sign simultaneously, saving everyone some time.
• After they sign say, “Peter D’s campaign to put people first would like to keep in touch with you. Would you care to share your e-mail?”
• If they say yes, please enter their e-mail address on the signup sheet.
• Hand them a promo card. If they seem enthusiastic, ask if they would be willing to volunteer to help the campaign. If so, please check that they wish to volunteer.
• Keep your petitions and other materials organized.
• Report in after petitioning and on a regular basis. Submit completed petitions as soon as possible after gathering them.
• Call or email to arrange a way to deliver your petitions.
• Don’t block entryways or appear intimidating when approaching people
• Don’t stereotype people – ask everyone!
• Don’t misrepresent Peter’s positions – if you are not SURE of an answer, tell the person we can get back to him/her, and get their contact info.
• Don’t argue with people who do not want to sign the petition. Say “thanks anyway,” and move on.
• Don’t argue with security personnel about your right to petition. Find another location.
• Don’t engage in drawn out political discussions. Stay focused on gathering petition signatures.
• Don’t write on the face or back of the petition.
• Don’t knowingly allow ineligible people to sign petitions, or submit fraudulent signatures to the campaign.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR TAKING THE TIME TO HELP THE PEOPLE FIRST CAMPAIGN GET PETER D ON THE BALLOT!!