The Ultimate Guide to Collecting Signatures for Citizen Ballot Initiatives
Updated: 4 days ago
According to a recent Mason-Dixon poll, 65% of South Dakota voters want to put Roe v. Wade on the ballot and LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE.
That is where you come in. Help collect 60,000 signatures to put Roe v. Wade on the ballot. We need to get them all by 7/1/23.
In this post, we’ll teach you some best practices for collecting signatures in the Sunshine State.
Disclaimer: This post is only meant to serve as 'general guidelines' for collecting signatures for citizen ballot initiatives. You can view the state of South Dakota's official document on signature collection HERE.
This is the Initiated Constitutional Amendment Petition to put Roe v. Wade on the ballot...
The petition is double sided on standard white 8.5x11 in paper.
Each sheet contains the attorney general explanation, amendment text, and ten total signature boxes to record each voters personal signature, printed name, resident address (where they live), county of registration (where they vote), and date of signing.
Make sure you take good care of every sheet! The Secretary of State can disqualify your signatures if the document is damaged! The best circulators avoid these errors by keeping their completed petitions in a separate folder.🗂
To sign the Initiated Constitutional Amendment Petition YOU MUST:*
The signer MUST be a REGISTERED VOTER IN THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA. You can verify a signers voter registration via the South Dakota Secretary of State's registration tool HERE.*
The signers MUST SIGN THEIR NAMES as they are registered to vote or as they usually sign their names.
The signer's printed name MUST also appear.
Signers MUST also print their resident address (e.g. where they live currently.)
Signers MUST also print their county of registration (e.g. the county where they are currently registered to vote.)
The signer MUST use a pen. Black or blue ink only!
Here is an example of a correctly completed signature line:
Remember, all six boxes of a signature line must be completed and legible! If all the information for those six boxes is included, but a signer wrote the information in the wrong box, that is acceptable. Example: A signer prints his/her name in the signature box and signs his/her name in the printed box.
*Note: You can also request a vote builder account to verify signers voter registration. Just one of our staff or volunteer coordinators. You can also send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get started!
To collect signatures for the Initiated Constitutional Amendment Petition YOU MUST:
The circulator MUST be at least 18 years of age.
The circulator MUST have lived in South Dakota for at least 30 days.
The circulator MUST NOT be a registered sex offender.
They circulator MUST use a BLACK or BLUE ink pen on the petition. No exceptions!
The circulator MUST personally witness every signature that is added to their petition sheets.
The circulator MUST verbally confirm with every signer that they are a registered South Dakota voter. *
The circulator MUST offer signers a copy of the state approved Volunteer Handout.
The circulator MUST verify each petition with a South Dakota notary public.👇
*Note: this is the single most important thing to remember while you are circulating. 2/3 of all signature errors occur from individuals signing who ARE NOT REGISTERED TO VOTE. So make sure you ALWAYS ASK THEM!
To verify your petition with a notary public YOU
The petition's verification must be completed following circulation.
Each petition must include circulator's printed name, residence address, city, state, complete date (includes month, day and year) and signature.
The petition must be signed under oath before a South Dakota notary public or other officer authorized to administer oaths.*
This is an example of a petition that has been signed by the circulator and verified by a notary public:
Note: If you have any questions about your eligibility to circulate, send us an email at email@example.com and we will verify for you.
Start circulating petitions to put Roe v. Wade on the ballot?
One, if you would like to circulate a petition you need to fill out this form HERE. After you do that our staff will be in touch with you within 24 hours to get you started. 📝
Two, we will be opening up a Sioux Falls office before the end of the year. In the meantime, you can hand-in, pick up, and notarize petitions with us every Saturday from 10am to 2pm at Icon Lounge, 402 N Main Ave Sioux Falls, SD 57105.🗳
Three, if you are already circulating with us and need to request additional petitions you can do so via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.📧
Strategies to find signatures
1.) Take your petition with you everywhere you go.
To the coffee shop. To the bank. To your kids soccer game. Sunday brunch with friends. Holiday party circuit. The grocery store.
Just think of how many people you come across in a given day? These are all opportunities to collect signatures. Take advantage of them!
To give you an example, last April, one of our volunteers took their petition with them every time they went to get coffee for a month (3-5 times a week).
In 30 days they collected over 80 signatures, at a minimal disruption to their daily routine as they were already going to get the coffee.🧠
2.) Watch the weather. Especially in winter and spring.
There are more people out and about on nice weather days. Our best circulators use weather.com to keep an eye on the 7 day forecast and plan their signature collecting accordingly.
This was a big part of our strategy last winter when we collected over 10,000 signatures between 12/1 and 2/1. Signature totals increase from 100% to 300% on days over 36 °F.😎
3.) Community events are a great place to get signatures.
There are events happening every day of the week in your community. Soccer games, flea markets, farmers markets, expos, parades, festivals, concerts, beer tastings. These are all opportunities to collect signatures.
To find events happening near you, we like to use Google Events. There are other ways to find potential events. DTSF has a great events page that we use to research signature collection opportunities for central Sioux Falls,
For example, the upcoming Sioux Falls Parade of Lights. There will be over 10,000 people in downtown Sioux Falls, including THOUSANDS OF REGISTERED VOTERS.
This is the perfect opportunity to hit the streets with your petition. Our teams did this last year, within two hours they had collected over 500 signatures!💥
4.) Stick to the script. Your goal is to get the signature. Not win the argument.
Your goal is to collect as many valid signatures as you possible can. Lengthy discussions and debates distract from that. So stick to the script:
Are you a registered South Dakota voter?
Will you sign our petition to put Roe v. Wade on the ballot?
We are just trying to get it on the ballot so the people can decide. Signing doesn't mean you have to vote for it.
After you have secured the signature you can engage in further discussions if you like. The move on. We have 60,000 signatures to collect!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is there a limit to the number of petitions I can collect?
No. Each petition sheet is assigned to a single circulator. There is no limit on the number of petitions that a circulator may use. The circulator does not need to fill all ten signature lines in the petition.
Can I sign my own petition?
No. Circulators CANNOT SIGN THEIR OWN PETITION. However, they can sign another circulator's petition.
What if the signer makes a mistake? Should we start over on a new line?
Yes. If the signer makes a mistake, tell them to start again on a new signature line. After that, draw a horizontal straight line through each row on the original signature line that contains mistakes. Here is an example:
Can I use a PO Box as my resident address?
If the signer is a resident of a second- or third-class municipality, which are those with less than 5,000 populations, a PO Box may be used for the residence address.
Can I sign my own petition?
Circulators CANNOT SIGN THEIR OWN PETITION. However, they can sign another circulator's petition.
Can we use abbreviations?
Abbreviations of common usage may be used. Ditto marks may not be used at any time.
Where can I find a notary public?
If you are in Sioux Falls our preference is that you notarize with us. We will be available every Saturday at DaDa Gastropub from 10am-1pm. We will also be opening up an office later this year.
In the meantime, if you need to find a notary outside of our office hour please contact email@example.com. She will help you find a notary in your area.
If you are outside of Sioux Falls please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. She will help you find a notary in your area.
Make a donation to help put Roe v. Wade on the ballot!
Note: if you have saved your information with ActBlue Express your donation will go through immediately!
Note: You can make checks payable to 'Dakotans for Health' PO Box 2063, Sioux Falls, SD 57101.