petitioning -- a brief how to manual

Some of you have asked for some scripting to assist in "cutting to the chase" in the Put It On The Ballot (PIOTB) petition drive, so here goes--please feel free to email us back with any suggestions, additions, or recommendations.

So often, we wonder what to say and how to say it when it comes to asking our neighbors for signatures in a petition drive. What are the perfect words to charm, cajole, and convince? Should I talk a little or talk a lot? Should I inform fully or work in sound bytes? What will it take to get the job done?

In this case, the job entails getting 46,000 valid signatures by August 24th, so we have to be brief and to the point. Here's what I've found works for me, or what I've observed works best for others.

: (big smile, lots of teeth, friendly, engaging, lots of eye contact, nodding head yes, yes, yes) -- Sir/Ma'am, are you a registered voter in Cuyahoga County?--Would you please sign this petition?--It's a petition to put
the sales tax issue on the ballot, so we can ALL vote on it.


  • As of October 1st, our sales tax will increase 1/4%
  • We will begin paying 7.75%
  • Two of three county commissioners decided this
  • We believe the voters of Cuyahoga County should decide this
  • This is almost a million dollars a week--$42 million a year -- $880 million over twenty years. We feel the voters of Cuyahoga County should decide to spend that kind of money, and not just two county commissioners.
  • Question: Isn't this for the convention center, or for the medmart?
  • Answer: That is what we were told. But, the resolution says it is for the general fund. (this is stated on your petition in the resolution area)

Don't spend time with a person wanting to debate with you. There are 30 signers for every three who don't want to sign. The debaters almost never sign and waste your time. Thank them courteously, beaming that winning smile, and turn your attention to somebody else. Life is too short...

: Thank you very much! See you at the polls in March!

Hope this helps shorten your learning curve and gets you rolling faster quicker! Tell us about your successes! Have fun! This is by far the easiest petition drive we've ever done!

Tim and Gloria