real democracy for NYC: a campaign for modern day citizen lawmaking


Thank you for volunteering!  Most likely you'll initially be petitioning with someone experienced.  But if you'd like to prepare, this page is all about one of the most efficient signature gathering methods we've found, the table method.

Here is a simple training video from veteran circulators:

In terms of what to say:

As soon as someone is in easy earshot, "Are you registered to vote in the city?"  If they are, then, "We just need voter signatures to create a more democratic city. Just takes a minute."  If they're willing to stop or ask you for more information, "We need 60,000 voter signatures to place amendments to the city' charter on the ballot that would create a modern day citizen lawmaking process."

"The volunteer manning the signature table can tell you more,"  but if you need to explain further to keep them engaged: "If you had an idea for a law, you could propose it in an online citizens' forum, choose who gets to draft it with you, everybody would have access to vetting the arguments for and against the idea, and if enough people supported it, it'd get placed on the ballot for us all to vote on."

As they approach the table, the volunteer behind it hands them a pen and says, "Thank you.  So, your signature goes on the top... and everything else has to be super legible for them not to throw it out."  Tell the signer the date, and that the county name has to be spelled out.  Explain that "to improve our chances in court, the proposal is split into two seperate amendments, the Right of Initiative, which gives voters the ability to propose and enact local laws directly, and the Citizens Forum, which uses technology to make that process more accessible, collaborative, deliberative, informed, less money-driven... so you have to sign twice."

The petition forms are accompanied by important instructions any witness should also read.  If you're heading up a tabling team, in addition to the petition forms, you'll need some masking tape, pens, and of course a table.  A partner is also good! Get in touch for any of these, or it may be more convenient to make do with whatever is handy.  Minimum table surface area for two alternating copies of each of the two signature sheets is 38" x 12". Room, or a clipboard, for the amendment texts and collecting emails is also important. This pdf is good for collecting emails from those that "would like to find out what happens with this," and (once the tear off tabs have been cut) giving people our URL. "Pass on the petition!  Witness your friends' signatures!"




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The Plan

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