Times' Reporter Reports on Petition Interaction

I missed these on Saturday but the Times' Brian Rosenthal was out and about on Saturday and here's what he heard from signature gatherers (reported via his tweets):

Charter school signature-gatherer's message isn't exactly accurate: "Hey, can you sign a petition to get more funding in education?"

Charter school signature-gatherer says he's from California, 1 of ~400 ppl here. But he doesn't think they'll meet the deadline.

Ran into 1st charter school petition signature-gatherer (at gay pride). He says he's getting paid $4/signature

That's $14 an hour and $4 a signature.  No wonder their Craigslist ad says you could make $1,000 a month.   And yet they had to import them from California?  Interesting.  

Update:  I had thought the Yes on 1240 would have thru July 6th to get signatures but it seems it is July 5th with all petitions due to the Secretary of State's office by July 6th.

Opinions please; will the 4th of July holiday hurt or help this effort?  People too focused on fun to pay attention or great opportunity to reach masses of people?


At least I can repatriate said…
I did not know that nonvoters, noncitizens, or people not on the Washington state voters list could sign initiatives.

I am a noncitizen, but do not support the initiative (I actually have one of those No on 1240 print outs visible from the rear of my car).

I do not know why the initiative 1240 does not guarantee access for English Language Learners nor for children with learning disabilities. I doubt any pro-1240 people or initiative signature gatherer could or would tell me.
Patrick said…
I would think the July 4 holiday would help, compared to your average working Wednesday. It'll still be tight and it sounds like their petition gatherers are so, um, enthusiastic that they'll have a lot of bad signatures.
seattle citizen said…
Lying to get signatures? That's a heck of a way to run a democracy.
Disgusted said…
Thanks, Brian. I hope you consider interviewing LEV and Stand. I would LOVE to know the training advocacy groups put signature collectors through. This story NEEDS to be told.
Anonymous said…
The paid signature-getters are lying all over the place. They are all over the ferry lines. And get this - they wear orange safety vests with the word "ACTIVIST" on the back as if they are doing this voluntarily based on passion for the issues! As if they aren't being paid. And they lie and say charter schools include all children. The lies and misrepresentation are an outrage!!

seattle citizen said…
Is there any sort of legal action that can be taken to at least document these lies? Can affidavits be submitted to the AG? This is an outrage. "Activist" my a**. Can LEV and whoever else is hiring these people at least have the spotlight of public attention put on them? For hiring lying "activists" as the only way to get their initiative on the ballot? Is this the "conversation about charters" the Reformers want? Lies sold on streetcorners at $4.00 a pop?
Anonymous said…
Well, I plan to take a page from the right-wingers this weekend and do some recording. I can't help it if my iPhone is on accidentally while I'm getting the lying charter spiel, can I?
Sunlight is a good thing.
Patrick said…
Lying in general is not illegal, and signature gatherers are not under oath (possibly regarding fraud in the actual signature, but not in statements they make about the initiative).

This isn't something new for this initiative, paid signature gatherers are a hell of a way to legislate.

Recourse is publicizing their lies for other possible signers, and for the election if it makes it to the ballot.
Anonymous said…
I HATE the entire initiative process. I'm a believer in government by representation. Maybe I'll change my mind someday, but as long as businesses can pay people to gather signatures, and those people can say anything to get the name on the line, I don't think it's any less corrupt or more grassroots than what our founding fathers devised. Consequently, I don't sign ANY initiative petitions—even if it's something I believe in. I wonder how many people like me are out there?

Anonymous said…
Overheard at Central Market in Shoreine: "Go ahead and sign. You can always vote no on the ballot." I have stopped going to the grocery store until later in the evening to avoid raising my blood pressure.

North Seattle Mom
Solvay, my experience is that there are some people who will sign nearly anything, believing "it just puts it on the ballot" and then they can vote on it later. I find that quite odd.

But I think allowing paid signature gatherers was a game changer for our initiative process and not a good one. That it is legal and yet you can't find out how many gatherers are paid and how many are volunteer seems wrong.
Anonymous said…
I wonder if there is a way to start an initiative to ban paid signature gatherers for initiative. If initiatives are supposed to truly be grass roots, there should be rules on signature gathering. Otherwise, it is another process by which laws are bought and paid for.

very annoyed mom
Someone said…
I had the same thought re: legislation on paid signature gathering - it's apparently harder to do than one might think - several states have tried - Oregon has a successful ban on "pay per signature" - all paid signature folk have to be paid on a hourly wage, not per signature - which would seem to take away the incentive to fib to get more signers -
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