Friday, April 04, 2014

How Not to Gain My Petition Signature

Just in case you haven't had the glorious opportunity to do this, here is some advice to people helping candidates get on the ballot: Don't argue with a person whose signature you are seeking to get on the petition on the clipboard in your hands.
During Harold and my walk today (Friday), as we approached Anderson while walking down Elmwood Avenue, a man about age 30 crossing the street looked at me and shouted, "Are you a registered voter in the City of Buffalo." Of course, I said yes, noting the clipboard and apparent petitions in his hand.
He said that he was seeking petition signatures to get the name of a person on the ballot as a candidate for the Buffalo Board of Education. I did not recognize the candidate's name (male), so I said that I would like to know something about the candidate before I signed and wanted to ask a couple of questions.
Before I could ask any, the man said that he didn't know any of the candidate's stands on issues, but that it didn't matter, because my signature would only qualify the candidate to get on the ballot and not indicate my support or be a vote for him. I told him that I still wanted to know where the candidate stood on certain issues before I committed my name/signature to him, and that I very well knew what petition signatures meant and indicated, because I have been a Democratic committeeman on Buffalo's West Side for about 10 years and have collected thousands of petition signatures.
The man replied that it didn't matter, repeating his previous arguments and saying that I should be supporting and allowing alternative candidates and views to be aired to the public. I replied that I had no problem allowing varying candidates and their ideas to be aired, but that if I was going to sign my name to a petition to get a candidate's name on the ballot, I wanted to know something about that candidate, as well as the fact that voters can only sign a certain number of candidate petitions for any office. Thus, I wanted to make my voice count.
I asked if this candidate had a web page; the man said no, but said that he had a Facebook account I could check. (When I got home, I tried to look but I could not find a Facebook page under the name on the petition or a slight variation of the first name.)
The man looked at me and said, "So, you're saying that you don't want to allow Mr. X (the candidate, whose name I won't reveal because he did not act in this manner) to be able to get on the ballot and voice certain opinions." "No, sir, I did not say that. I said I will not sign my name to a candidate's petition without knowing something about him or her, which you can't even tell me." The man gave me a very loud "Have a good day," and walked away.
Throughout this time, Harold was incredibly well behaved, sniffing and looking at the man and me, but as the other guy left, the pup muttered under his breath, "You know, Dad, just give me the signal and I'll pee on the next person who does that."


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