On petition gathering

AP -- Kelley Shannon on Strayhorn and Friedman's adventures in petition gathering:

To make it onto the Texas ballot for governor in the November 2006 general election as an independent, a candidate must gather the signatures of 45,540 registered Texas voters. None of those names can be voters who cast ballots in either the Republican or Democratic party primaries March 7 or runoffs in April.

The campaigns will have 60 days to meet the requirement, but that time frame would be shortened by runoffs.

Friedman, a musician and author, has been saying for months that his campaign has volunteers gearing up to gather signatures all over Texas.

Strayhorn, who announced her independent candidacy Monday, was asked by a news reporter if she had the political operation in place to gather 45,540 signatures. Her reply hinted that she hopes to get much of that petition support from educators.

"Listen," she said, "there are not just 45,000 teachers in this state, there are 280,000 teachers and they have families and ... it's about education."

Because some political firms are accustomed to hiring people to circulate petitions for local initiatives, gathering the names of registered voters for a governor's race shouldn't be difficult for Friedman or Strayhorn, said Harvey Kronberg, publisher of the Austin-based online newsletter The Quorum Report.

"I don't think either is going to have any trouble," he said.

Kronberg placed the cost of gathering the signatures at about $1.75 to $3 per name. That totals about $136,000 on the high end. Petition gatherers would presumably try to get some extra signatures just in case some of the signatures proved to be invalid, he said.

There are 12.5 million registered voters in Texas.

The going rate for petitions is about $2 per name. I'm interested in how much of a premium will be charged. Before, I'd estimated that the price might be 50-100% higher per name.

Also, because both campaigns will gather more signatures than is necessary, I'd suggest that the cost will likely be closer to $200,000 than the cited $136,000 for each campaign.

Posted by Evan @ 01/04/06 08:53 AM


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