Skip to main content









Donation Heart Ribbon

So How Do You Gather All Those Initiative Signatures?

Look on the California Secretary of State’s website and you’ll see dozens of measures have been cleared to circulate ballot initiative petitions. Proponents are given 150 days to gather signatures. Not all measures make it out to the streets, but for those hoping for a place on the November ballot, time is getting short.

“We are now getting up against deadlines, the next ninety days basically is signature mania,” said Political Consultant Steve Smith, who explained that in a state as large as California, paid signature gatherers are the norm. But he said this is also a key time for campaigns to build their volunteer bases.

“The way you recruit those volunteers is very often during the signature gathering phase. That’s the first time that volunteers can go out, they can do something and volunteers recruit other volunteers.”

Smith said the keys to successful signature gathering include having adequate financial resources—and support organizations with large membership bases. Groups like unions or churches for instance who have members willing to hit the streets.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or subscribe to our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.