Choose a location in a public area, such as outside a public library or post office or DMV, or outside an official polling place on Election Day, Primary Day, or during Early Voting days, where there is a steady stream of traffic to make your efforts worthwhile. Petitioning at festivals and events is especially effective, but tabling fees and rules may apply. Get permission if you are in a commercial area. Some local bookstores and groceries will let you table outside their doors, but shopping centers seldom allow anything political. Petitioning door-to-door is less time efficient, but it can also be done.
Anyone may gather petition signatures, but only registered North Carolina voters may sign the petition. Any registered voter may sign the petition—it does not matter which party, if any, the person is registered with. If someone signed our petition prior to November 8, 2016, they may sign again, because we have begun a new petition period since then.
You must use separate petition forms for each county, with the county name filled in at the top. It’s a good idea to carry several blank forms with you, since you will probably run into signers from other counties wherever you are. Our ballot access chair then submits completed petition forms to county boards of election for verification.
Petition forms can be downloaded from the NCGP website and copied as needed. Be sure to use the latest posted form, not old forms from a few years ago, since the current petitioning campaign has to use forms approved for it by the State Board of Elections. You should also carry a few voter registration forms for those who haven’t gotten around to registering to vote yet.
It's a good idea to approach people with the question “Are you registered to vote in North Carolina?” which starts out on a positive note as most people will say yes, and it weeds out the ones who can’t sign. They will then try to walk away, since they think you are doing voter registration, so you need to follow up quickly with “Then you can sign our petition. What county are you registered in?” so you can start to present the petition form while you explain the purpose of the petition—trying to get the Green Party recognized as a political party in NC, trying to get the Green Party on the ballot.
Be ready with a brief description of what the GP stands for, since many people have still not heard of us. Having a brochure or flyer hand out is helpful, or an explanation of the GP's Ten Key Values. Point out that more choices mean more democracy, and assure them that signing will not put them on a mailing list and does not mean that they're a Green or that they're changing their voter registration.
Be sure that their handwriting is legible, since it will be thrown out if the county boards of election can’t read it easily. They should print until they get to the signature at the end. Make sure they know that the date is their birth date, which the county boards use as identification, not today’s date. The address they write down should match the address at which they are registered to vote—if they’re still registered to vote at an old address that is no longer their home address, they should write the old address on the form.
If they’re not sure if they’ve signed before, get them to sign anyway—only one of their signatures will count. If someone signed our petition prior to November 8, 2016, they may sign again, because we have begun a new petition period since then. If they are not registered and would like to register, give them a voter registration form and get them to sign—offer to send in the voter registration form for them if they fill it out now. If they mess up, best to cross out and start fresh on a new line.
Having more than one person in the same location is a good idea. It is helpful if one of the team members is knowledgeable about local politics and the party, so they can get into longer discussions with people who want to chat. If it’s just you, it can really cut into your signature gathering time to have these debates or schmoozes, but it is good outreach to answer people’s questions and generally be sociable.
Having more than one clipboard is a good idea so that signers do not have to wait to sign.
Sending in your forms
Hand over your completed forms to your local co-chair at chapter meetings, or mail them on a monthly basis to our ballot access chair:
112 Reton Ct.
Cary, NC 27513
If you have any questions, call Michael Trudeau at 314-337-2154.
Thank you for your effort! Every little bit helps!