The Role Circulators Play in Getting a Candidate on the Ballot

“Hands down, circulators are what makes the difference.”

Mark Jacoby

Considering running for office likely conjures up many images. Perhaps the first thing that comes to mind is a campaign trail or fundraising. Or maybe it’s the speeches that are delivered at each stop along the trail, designed to win over voters and propel the candidate forward. 

However, before any of these things can even be considered, a candidate needs to get his or her name on the ballot. Regardless of the state, there are many factors at play when it comes to getting a candidate on the ballot. The role that circulators play is arguably the most important factor. Perhaps the most important factor, though, is the role that circulators play in the process. 

State Requirements

Circulators inarguably play a key role when it comes to getting a candidate on the ballot. Each state varies on the number of signatures needed from the people to get a candidate on a ballot. But the common thread is that all states do require at least some signatures. 

Some states require a certain amount of signatures from the congressional district in which the candidate is planning to run. That said, it pays to use experienced circulators that are familiar with the rules of each state. You also want circulators who have experience in pitching issues and candidates to the people within those states.

Doing Whatever it Takes

Circulators’ jobs revolve around making the impossible happen. The odds are stacked against them from the start. Technically, they aren’t able to stand in front of privatized places of business. This means they have to get creative with their tactics. Many circulators parking lot hop, trying to get signatures from customers before they enter and as they leave a store. Others will work their way into the store, talking to a manager, and building a relationship that allows them to stand in front of the store itself. Circulators sometimes work twenty-hour days to ensure that they do not lose a spot to work once it’s secured. 

On top of fighting for a spot to work, circulators understand that their working conditions can be very harrowing at times. Depending on state deadlines, the seasons in which they are working can vary. Sometimes, circulators find themselves in the middle of a snowstorm, a hurricane, or weather upwards of 100 degrees. Circulators understand that outside factors cannot play a role in the number of signatures they deliver.

 When they’ve finally secured a spot, circulators are then tasked with the job of developing a pitch that will be most effective for getting voters interested. This could vary from person to person, so it requires circulators to be good salesmen and saleswomen. 

Selling the Issue

Generally speaking, average voters tend to be mistrusting toward politicians, which can result in them disengaging from politics overall. Candidates need someone who can sell them to the average citizen, and circulators literally specialize in this. They must get voters to see and understand how the issue at hand affects them personally in order to motivate them to care about it.

 It’s the very tenacity and grit that circulators display on a consistent basis that comes in handy when getting a candidate on a ballot. When it comes to circulators and the role they play in getting a candidate on the ballot, there is no question that they are what make the difference. Their experience with the rules of gathering signatures, their determination to deliver on the number of signatures needed, regardless of outlying circumstances, and their ability to convince an average voter to care are exactly the things that it takes to get a candidate’s name on a ballot, and their importance in this process should not be overlooked.

Let the Voters Decide is the nation’s largest network of circulators. To learn more about our services, contact us.