HOW TO – Petitioning Guidelines
Please remember that if every Green party member carries a petition with her/him, and gathers 30
valid signatures in the required 75 days (Mar 15-May 28), we are 75% there – easily! So carry a
petition with you AT ALL TIMES, even when you go to the rest rooms!
The petition drive begins Wednesday, March 15 and ends Sunday, May 28. That’s 75 days. (Monday,
May 29 is Memorial Day, so we must turn in all forms on Tuesday, May 30. We get one day to breathe.)
We need to gather approximately 75,000 signatures to ensure we have the 45,540 required by the
state of Texas from registered voters who have not voted in the primaries.
1. When petitioning in public, first, choose a good location to petition. A good location would be a
grocery store, court houses/downtown, drugstores, universities, public events, parks, etc.
It should be a location that has people coming and going all day long, a place where people can be
easily and quickly approached.
2. Ideally, there should be a minimum of three petitioners at any one time at any one location. Two
who only gather signatures, and a third to distribute literature and answer questions. If possible
set up a table (or an ironing board) with literature to hand-out with buttons, bumper stickers and
t-shirts for sale.
3. When petitioning, wear Green Party identification: button, name tag, t-shirt. Put balloons on the
table (table must be away from traffic), draw attention.
4. Approach a person directly. Make eye contact. Be very friendly with everyone but keep “moving
and grooving”. Always keep moving and reaching out to people. We have flyers with some bullet
points of WHY GREEN that you can hand to people while saying the rap that follows below:.
Say, “Excuse me. We need your signature to get the Green Party on the ballot for the
November election.” Four out of five people will ignore you.
When one hesitates, say, “We’re not asking you to vote for the Green Party. We’re just trying
to get on the ballot to give you more candidates, especially ones not beholden to big money.”
If they indicate their assent ask, “Are you a registered voter in the state of Texas?” If they
say yes ask, “Did you vote in the Democratic or Republican primary in March?”
NOTE: only people who have NOT voted can sign – also, they cannot have signed another
party’s petition, ie for the Libertarians or the Reform party. It IS okay also to sign a petition
for ONE independent candidate for any given office (like Kinky or Carole).
If they did vote, please say “I am sorry, you cannot sign the petition, but please feel free to
pick-up information about the Green Party in the table,” you might even thank them for voting.
5. Don’t get involved in long political discussions. Our goal this time around is to get signatures. If you
are at an event and talk to someone for 2, 3 or 5 minutes, 50 people might walk by you who would
have signed the petition with little persuasion while you are trying to persuade one person, who
might not end up signing the petition.
If you get asked questions: direct the people to the table to the information person who will
answer questions, distribute information, sell merchandise, etc.
6. Carry at least two clipboards at a time. 4-6 are preferable and some volunteers carry 6-8 at
events when they are getting people to sign petitions. The reason is that you will often approach
several people at a time. Why have everyone wait for one to sign when you can pass clipboards to
everyone around and do one rap for everyone? If you do it one by one by one, many possible
signatures will walk by you as you concentrate on just that one person.
7. Have lots of pens. I actually tie my pens to the clipboard so they don’t get lost. Have spares in
your pocket or bag in case people walk away with your pen.
8. In case of rain, have a plastic cover for the clipboard
9. Everyone should have some simple level of knowledge about at least one or two candidates and the
campaign so they will feel comfortable but again, our goal this time around is 75,000 signatures
and spreading information is secondary.
10. If you are at the entrance to an event, assign the different petitioners their own areas so that all
paths to the entrance are covered. It is important not to have the petitioners bunched together.
11. Each petitioner should be able to gather one good signature every five minutes. That’s three
signatures every fifteen minutes, twelve per hour, or ninety-six signatures in an eight-hour day.
12. We recommend you contact the grocery/store managers to inform them you will be petitioning in
front of their store. Visit the place before to see where you can set-up a table without blocking
traffic or entrances. Usually store-owners and malls know it is your constitutional right. Please
contact the Green Party if you need further information, we have done preliminary legal research.
For those of you in Houston: we have already been contacting a list of locations.
13. We should avoid confrontations with the police, security guards, property owners and others
whenever possible. If we are in confrontation we will not be getting signatures. However: it is our
right and duty as citizens to assemble and to petition. We have the right to do this and it is up to
the police and store-owners to accommodate us and not the other way around.
14. If you are confronted, hassled or otherwise challenged, call Green Party headquarters for
instructions about what to do. It may be the site is not worth the hassle and you will simply be
sent to another site. If it is an important site, then a decision will have to be made on whether or
not to take legal action.
15. Have voter registration cards at the table. Those can be had from your county voter registrar. A
person is considered registered only 30 days after the Secretary of State has received the
application. So if a person is not registered, you can have them sign an application, but they
cannot sign the petition then. Now if you see them again one month later…
For more detailed instruction, call your local green party (Earl Gerhard, 713/515-3433 in Harris
County; or call Ramsey Sprague, 682/556-0553 statewide). We will direct you to the local organizers.
Another number for Houston is: 713-866-6285. Statewide website: www.txgreens.org