The Petition Drive
We need to get more than 18,000 valid petition signatures by July 10th, to try to get on the November ballot -- which is our preference. If it takes longer to collect the signatures, then we will be on a later ballot -- either a Special Election or the May 2018 primary ballot.
A valid petition has the dated signatures and voting addresses of registered Columbus voters, with a properly completed Circulator Statement. We are paying a professional petition management company to collect the majority, but we need volunteer help from everyday citizens like you to help us get the reach and keep costs down. Please help by doing as much as you can. Every signature helps.
Click here to download and print the petition: 2017 Council Electoral Reform Charter Amendment
How to Circulate a Petition
Petitions can be circulated by any person over 18 years of age. Petition circulators take full copies of the petition (do not separate pages) and get signatures from Columbus voters who also live in Franklin County (for logistical reasons, we are only getting signatures from the Franklin County residents of Columbus - which is the vast majority of Columbus residents). First, start by getting the signatures of all the voters in your household and family. You are not permitted to sign a petition that you are circulating. Taking petitions to neighborhood meetings or block parties where you know everyone is your neighbor and lives in Columbus is the best and easiest approach. Taking it to work and getting co-workers to sign is another good option. If you can get a full petition booklet (40 signatures), that is ideal, but get what you can and then return the petition to us -- we will then validate signatures by matching the entries to the Franklin County Board of Elections voter registration database.
In other places you would want to ask "are you a registered voter in the city of Columbus?" Then you can briefly explain the petition to them, saying things like "Everyday people are trying to reform Columbus City Council and bring it closer to the interests of ordinary citizens ... we want council members who represent neighborhoods and who aren't beholden to big campaign donors for expensive citywide elections. Your signature can help put a charter change question on the ballot for debate and a vote. Will you sign my petition?"
Please make sure they sign their legal signature in cursive and print their name as well. The signature must match the signature on file at the Franklin County Board of Elections. YOU MUST WATCH THEM SIGN!!! Ask that they use their voting address - no P.O. Boxes, and if they recently moved and haven't updated their voter registration have them use their old voting address. OR if you have a voter registration form with you, have them update it with their new address and THEN sign the petition with the new registration address.
Please note that people cannot sign for others -- for instance, it is not uncommon when approaching a couple for one to say "honey, my hands are full -- can you sign that for me?" DO NOT ALLOW THIS!!!
The Circulator Statement: When you are ready to turn in the petition you will sign the statement on the last page of the petition under penalty of law, writing down the number of signatures in that petition booklet and stating that you witnessed every signature, and that to the best of your knowledge the signers are who they say they are. You do not have to check identifications or anything -- just make sure the person is not obviously signing for somebody else. Do it right -- do not risk an election falsification charge!!!
Once you have signed the circulator statement, do not collect any more signatures in that petition booklet -- just turn it in.