Sticky Notes on Petitions
Paulie and I went to Calvary Chapel in Orrington last night. My Treasurer, Jack McCarthy was there in the morning.
On Saturday I received an email from the Maine GOP announcing that Paul LePage’s Campaign would be gathering signatures in a number of evangelical churches in Maine. That was the first notice I’d received of the political campaigning in 501-C3 churches. Since I was the first declared Republican candidate for Governor you’d think I would have been the first candidate notified in this massive and expensive effort to be in many churches with dozens of “volunteers” on the same day.
I knew nothing about it.
I expected LePage to gather his signatures in Republican town and county caucuses. I was surprised to see evidence of such expensive electioneering aimed at 501-C3 churches.
I noted post it notes on the the dozens of town petitions filling multiple tables at the back of the church. The post it notes featured the name of one town on them. I pointed it out to Paulie as a curiosity. We tell our petitioners to simply handwrite the town on the petition. Each petition includes a Circulators Oath that a single petitioner must sign before a notary. The circulator swears that they personally witnessed every signature on the petition.
It occurred to me this morning that the post it note leaves no evidence of handwriting. I can see a lawyer who wants to disqualify a petition doing so based on a handwriting comparison between the signature in the Circulators Oath box and the scrawled town name on the petition.
Then I realized that there was only one couple tending the petitions for a couple dozen different towns. Many petitions included many signatures. Jack was at the church in the morning. He told me that there were many volunteers working the table in the morning.
I don’t know what is going on for certain but my guess is that the LePage Campaign is having volunteers answer questions about one set of petitions that will be carried to town offices by one paid staffer for certification. I’m sure that the paid staffer who will certify that they personally witnessed every single signature attended all four church services yesterday, and had eyes on a dozen volunteers as they assisted the individual signatories. I’m sure that “witnessing” a signature is defined in law as being within a hundred miles of a petition when it was signed.
Additionally the pastor was unaware of the FACT that the petition means the signatory is merely attesting to their willingness to see the candidate’s name on the ballot. The petition in no way binds the signer to the candidate. The voter makes that decision on election day. Many people thought they should sign for only one candidate for Governor. I’m sure that idea isn’t being spread by a certain campaign for Governor.
Regardless of what the truth is here this is just another of the infinite examples in our collapsing civilization of what happens when you let lawyers, accountants and rich politicians run everything. The earnest normie is bewildered by the wordsmithing, deal making and behind the scenes chicanery that our culture rewards. It’s a magic trick. While the sincere citizen goes about attempting to honor authority by following rules the rule makers are busy creating more and more for the purpose of hiding their power plays.
My campaign has very little in the way of resources. We don’t have enough volunteers yet to gather 2000 signatures before the deadline. And we don’t have enough money to get away with these magic tricks. In past efforts I’ve managed a level of institutional power that made it possible to certify hundreds of petitions in the closing days of a signature drive. I don’t have access to those resources this time.
To honor the time that my small but growing cadre of volunteers is starting to put into this effort I am going to insist on providing petitions to volunteer circulators who pledge to fill a petition sheet, get it certified and call me when it is finalized for pick up. I think we will be able to manage that process with the resources God is providing. Each petitioner will pledge to obtain at least 40 registered Republican signatures in their own town. I’m not going to expect my wife, or any volunteer, to run to dozens of towns for certification. And I don’t have money to pay staff to do it.
One final note. Instead of spending trillions on making the internet into a global surveillance network why don’t we make it possible for the average citizen to attest in matters like this by visiting a website?
Modern “civilization” just keeps getting curioser and curioser.