Guide to Collecting Signatures For S. 1804
Step 1: Get your Materials Together
Step 2: Find a Location
Warm up – asking people you know to sign (family, friends, neighbors) – is an easy first run
Visit busy locations – Public areas likes parks, farmers markets, bus and train stations, libraries are heavily trafficked, especially during events like festivals or parades. Other progressive org. gatherings can be good too. Find people who are bored and waiting in line somewhere.
- Legal note: Some states (CA, MA) protect the rights of candidates and issue organizations to canvass outside supermarkets, while others do not (WA, many others). Check your state’s laws regarding signature collection.
Step 3: Go Get Signatures
Smile, say hello, and ask “Would you sign this petition asking Senators X and/or X to cosponsor Bernie Sanders Medicare for All bill?” Possible answers to this question and suggested response:
Yes – Thank them and hand over the clipboard and pen. They just need to fill out their name, zipcode, and email.
No – This may be the most common response – and that’s ok. Say “thank you, have a nice day” and move on. You can expect to get between 10-25 signatures per hour, depending on how busy the location is.
Requests info – Plan a brief answer to “What does the bill do?” For example, “Medicare for all would cover every resident of the U.S. with publicly-financed cradle to grave healthcare, saving thousands of lives and billions of dollars a year.” Try to keep each encounter short –if people want to talk politics, tell them “I’m just here to collect signatures today” and (optionally) hand them a brochure/flyer.
Step 4: (IMPORTANT!) Return Petitions in self-addressed envelope!
We’ll collect all of them and send to the Senator with a local delegation (which you can be a part of!) Make copies if you’d like to keep them for your own organization.
- Be polite, even when people tell you off. It’s hard, but we’ll have the last laugh by making sure they get healthcare.
- Wear Healthcare-related swag – “Healthcare is a human right” is hard to disagree with.
- Multi-task – While you’ve got someone signing, ask other passerbys if they’d sign as well.
- Lead by example – Fill out the complete first line of each page so that people are encouraged to fill out ALL the info (don’t let people skip the email section – that’s how we’ll plug them into more actions for single payer!)