First day to circulate and file nomination petitions: February 14
Last day to circulate and file nomination petitions: March 7
There is a bit of an open question on whether you have to reside in the county you are circulating for, or the legislative district of the candidate, etc. Supposedly, they are loosening the rules to allow to to circulate outside your region, but I don’t trust it. My recommendation is that if you can’t vote for the person you nor sign the very petition you are circulating then you should circulate for someone/somewhere else.
Important info: errors to avoid and tips to improve your results.
1) MAKE SURE YOU KNOW HOW MANY SIGNATURES YOU NEED. The rule of thumb is to get twice as many, in case you get challenged. 150% may get you by, but 2 times is safe. Some candidates will try to get 3 or 4 times as “show of strength” or bragging rights. That’s up to the campaign.
Signing at supermarkets and malls gives terrible results. Many people don’t know their party registration or even if they are really registered or live in your district. Best results are with a street list (showing party affiliation) and matching names/addressed to list.
2) Make sure that the voters sign where it says to SIGN, and print where it says to PRINT their names. (I’ve seen challenges when the two were reversed.)
I strongly recommend having a correct example to show voters. Once one voter makes a mistake, the next voter is likely to copy the same mistake. BE VIGILANT!!
3) The date (last column) MUST be entered by the signer, not the person circulating the petitions nor anyone else. Ditto marks are NOT allowed.
Make sure they get the year right. Recite the correct date to them as they fill it out.
4) DO NOT let spouses fill out the address information for their spouse. Both signers must SEPARATELY fill out the address information, in addition to their names and signatures. Matching handwriting for the same address is always challenged (even ones that match only the handwriting of the date). Use different colored pens for each spouse if you can.
5) The Address is where they are registered, not the address of a friend/relative where you happen to meet them door-knocking. Their “number” is the house number, NOT their phone number. (I’ve seen this mistake during a challenge).
6) If there is a mistake or bad/illegible line CROSS IT OUT and have the person rewrite it. A sloppily written line will be challenged by your opponent (even if they really can read it).
7) Do NOT make any fixes yourself to lines, including filling out addresses or dates. Every line must be in the individual handwriting of the signer.
Cross out with a wavy line and have signer do it again if necessary.
8) The Township/Municipality is not always the same as postal address. Marple Township has “Broomall, PA” as the postal city. But, MARPLE is the correct township/municipality for petitions. For Philly it doesn’t matter, but the rest of the state can be different.
9) VoterWeb and Vote Builder have special Petition Lists that should be used instead of the usual Street Lists for canvassing. The Petition Lists are formatted to match the petition forms.
If you are doing door-knocking, SHOW THE PETITION LIST TO THE VOTER AND HAVE THEM FILL OUT FORM TO MATCH THE PRINTOUT (middle initials optional). This is how they are registered in the voter database, including women whose maiden name has not been updated to their married name. Even though the courts are more accepting of Bob for Robert, have them write the name as it is registered.
10) PAID VOTERWEB CANDIDATES: can flag voters as petitions signers to create their own PRIVATE database of signers for later use in the campaign.
Double-clicking on an entry in the Petition List screen opens a popup window to add voter to your petition list. Petition signers can also be added from the search screen results.
Entering in each voter/signer is the best way to make sure you have enough voters and they are registered in your district.
NOTE: If planning to challenge your opponents petitions, contact me for instructions/strategy and how to record what you find
11) You cannot register voters and have them immediately sign your petition.
Their voter registration forms must be processed and registered at board of elections before they can sign.
12) When you are done your petitions, and ready to file, you must sign the back IN THE PRESENCE of a Notary, not in advance.
13) If you are a running for office and also a notary, do not be an idiot and notarize your own petitions. This is a conflict of interest, and your petitions will be invalidated.
14) Bring extra pens (some will inadvertently get lost/left at houses). I recommend alternating between Black and Blue ink each line (and handing different signers different colored pens at same house) to avoid them filling out each others lines. If you are challenged that one person filled out two consecutive lines, you can testify that it was your practice to hand each signer a different colored pen.