This is my first time collecting signatures. Do you get assigned to a date and location to collect signatures? Volunteers should feel free to collect signatures in their neighborhoods, at community events, and as they go about their usual life. Their area leaders will be in contact with suggestions and opportunities to sign up to collect signatures at events using Signup Genius.
Where can l get a booklet? The petitions will be available soon and we will let you know where you can pick up booklets, voter registration materials, handouts, and clipboards.
Where do I return my booklets? Return your booklets to the person that you got them from. This is always true unless that person gives you special instructions because you are collecting at a special event. If you ever turn in a booklet to a different person, note down all the particulars (booklet #, county, number of signatures) and make sure to pass that information on to the person from whom you got the booklets.
Can I share my petition with my spouse or friend? No. Each petition booklet is the responsibility of the volunteer. Each circulator has to observe each voter’s signature in the petition and affirm and sign that they did so, so it is not possible to share a booklet.
What parts of the signature blocks are we allowed to fill out for voters? If a voter wants help we are allowed to fill out everything except the signature. For example, you can assist an elderly or disabled person by filling out their information and then having them sign.
Am I allowed to put an X in the “Ward/Precinct” box since the signer doesn’t need to fill that out? NO. Leave that box blank since the BOE will enter the ward and precinct when they are validating the petitions.
Are we allowed to enter the county on all the signature blocks ahead of time in order to help make sure that people are signing in the correct booklet? YES, this is a good tip and a good way to prevent errors where people from different counties sign in the same book.
What should I do if the front page of the petition detaches? The summary is fairly long so this is unlikely to happen, but if it does, please paper clip it together.
Can circulators witness two people signing at once? YES, but circulators must be absolutely sure that they are closely watching both voters. It is good to have an additional clipboard and extra petitions for voters from other counties.
Do you have tips for collecting signatures from college students on a residential campus? To encourage college students to sign, make sure they know how gerrymandered districts mean elected leaders who are not responsive to the things they care about, such as student loan debt, gun safety, and climate. When having them sign, be especially careful to check their registrations: often students may be registered at home or not registered at all. It is quick and easy to check at ohlookup.com or voteohio.gov. Offer to register them or update as needed, and remind them that if they move and update their registration they will need to sign the petition again.
How do we register people to vote? It’s helpful to have voter registration forms on your clipboard if you find out someone is eligible to vote, but not registered, or needs to update their address. Complete all the highlighted areas on the form. Double check the voter has indicated citizenship, included ID number, has a correct birth date and signing date, and that everything is legible. Return to your area leader according to their instructions. Please do so as quickly as possible since there is a strict deadline of 10 days from the day the form is completed to when it needs to be turned in at the Board of Elections and your area leader may have to take the form through several other steps before turning it in.
Can you register people to vote from other counties? Yes, you can use any Ohio voter registration form to register an Ohio voter in any Ohio county. Remember, completed voter registrations should be turned in according to the instructions given to you by your regional leader. (They are likely to want you to bring the completed forms to them, remembering that it must be done in a timely manner.)
Why is it preferable to ask people to register to vote or update address on a paper form as opposed to them doing it online when we are with them? Several reasons! The online portal is very clunky and awkward. Young people are often not able to use the online registration because they haven’t had a license for long enough. You can’t register online if your license does not match your registration address. Mostly though — bird in hand principle! Much better to have the form in hand rather than a promise to do it later!
If someone was in prison, but is now released, can they sign? Yes, those who are no longer serving a felony sentence can re-register to vote and sign.
If a signature droops into the box below it, does it invalidate the petition signer below? No. Kindly encourage voters to be careful when they print their information but don’t worry if there is a little overlap.
What do you do if a voter puts information in the wrong box? The easiest way to avoid problems is to clarify before the voter begins adding their information. Please point out where the first name goes, last name, middle initial, address, and where the voter signs. Things will still go wrong. Encourage the voter to cross out and initial mistakes. If necessary, the voter can begin again in another box.
Do you try to cover the previous signers for privacy’s sake (like with a piece of paper)? How can I ensure that voters’ information isn’t misused? It would be hard to collect and cover the prior signatures. In Ohio, voters’ addresses are public records. As the circulator, you are responsible for watching the voters sign the petition. As soon as each voter signs, ask for your clipboard back and kindly discourage voters who want to peek at all the others who have signed.
Are there good storage practices? You are responsible for the petition booklets that you receive. Be sure to store your petitions together in a dry area away from areas with frequent visitors.
Do apartments allow petition signers? Some do; others don’t. While door-to-door canvassing is a First Amendment right, it is often better to leave when you are asked to. Please inform us if you run into problems.
Will there be a visual representation of how the Ohio Citizens Redistricting Commission is composed on the packet? No, but on our clipboards we will have a link to the Citizens Not Politicians website.
How many counties have online voter lookup? You can look up voters from every county beginning with the Ohio Secretary of State’s website voteohio.gov. Many find Ohlookup.com–a tool for confirming voter registration–faster. See this link for tips on how to use the lookup tool. Best tip: less information (just the first and last name) works the best and brings up voter information more quickly.
Where are good common spaces to collect signatures? There are a lot of options:
- Go door-to-door (do your neighborhood or use a voter list!)
- At community events (festivals, farmers markets, etc.)
- Outside sporting events
- Outside libraries
- Theater and concert lines
- Parking lots
- Busy bus stops
- Family gatherings and holiday parties
- Bureau of Motor Vehicles parking lots
- Polling locations for any election (You will need to be in the Free Speech Zone –100 feet from the entrance of the polling location– and 10 feet from voters if the line extends beyond that buffer. Encourage voters to come to you to sign the petition.)
- Organizations and volunteers can create signature drive-thrus at local churches, public libraries, or union halls.
What do you do if you’re told you aren’t allowed to collect signatures in a public setting? While you have a First Amendment right to collect signatures in public locations, if you are asked to leave, please do so and then let us know. We will work on ensuring that circulators have access.
How many volunteers do you plan on getting? The more the merrier! Every conversation with a voter is an opportunity to build support for ending gerrymandering and to understand the questions and concerns that the voters have. The state of Ohio is large, so we will need thousands of volunteers. This isn’t an unrealistic goal. We continue to build support and our army of volunteers, because each one of you is important!
Where do I turn in my petitions? Return the petitions to the person or organizations that gave them to you. These petitions will be turned into the campaign and then all of the petitions will be given to the Ohio Secretary of State before the July 3 deadline.
If we get enough signatures before the deadline can we submit them early so we don’t have to worry about them aging? The Citizens Not Politicians campaign will decide what makes the best sense. It is incredibly hard to get the required 413,487 valid signatures from voters in at least 44 counties, and the campaign may continue to collect until the July 3 deadline.
Are all the training sessions the same? Many of the training sessions will be similar. We will be sure to publicize how they differ.
When will we know where the petition distribution centers are? We are slowly building the infrastructure and will let you know as soon as we do.
Will you be asking for volunteers to return booklets before they are full? There will be periodic deadlines and we will be asking for volunteers to turn in their petitions. Volunteers will be asked to return the petitions even if they are not full. It’s important for the campaign to periodically review petitions to ensure that collection is proceeding as expected.
How many signatures are needed? To place Citizens Not Politicians on the ballot, we need 413,487 valid signatures from Ohio voters. We will also need to collect signatures equaling 5% of the last gubernatorial vote in 44 of the 88 counties. In order to meet these required numbers of VALID signatures, we will need to collect close to twice the number of signatures overall.
How long do we have to collect signatures? The deadline to get on the November 2024 ballot is July 3, 2024. The campaign will decide to complete signature collection at some point before then.
Should we recruit other petition collectors? Yes, definitely. Collecting enough signatures to get on the ballot is difficult. Please reach out to your friends and neighbors. Together, we can ensure that we have fair districts, fair elections, and more accountable government. They can sign up to join at bit.ly/volfairdistricts.
Are there going to be Citizen Not Politicians shirts or buttons that we can wear when collecting signatures? Yes, it is incredibly helpful to have shirts, buttons, signs, and clipboards with the Citizens Not Politicians logo on the back so that voters can easily find us. Ask your regional leader about getting what you need.
Questions? Contact us at email@example.com.
Fair Districts Ohio is a coalition committed to fairer state legislative and congressional maps. We are a non-partisan team of voting rights experts and organizations working to create a better and more equitable representational democracy. The coalition includes Common Cause Ohio, the League of Women Voters of Ohio, Ohio A. Philip Randolph Institute, the Ohio Council of Churches, the Ohio Voter Rights Coalition, and more.