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Walter Mason

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Reply with quote  #1 
In Utah for us to get on the ballot required 2,000 signatures and the submission of state party bylaws and officers. 

We started with a large group of volunteers, 20 or so, coming to meetings and we brainstormed how we would achieve our goals. We brainstormed for weeks. Ideas were as abundant as flies in a pig pen. Action, not so much. After four weeks of meetings we had less than two-hundred signatures and three weeks left to make the difference. 

At our Sunday meeting, I pleaded to the group that we could not stop working that day until we had met our daily goal (almost 150 signatures) and that I would not personally stop and go home until we had achieved it. Everyone thought this was a good idea but no one was able to do any canvassing that day. I took my clipboard and a pocketful of pens and I went through a downtown neighborhood. 

Door to door I found people who were strong supporters, strong non-supporters, and everything in between. My pitch was the same everytime, "Hello, my name is Walter. I was wondering if you could help me out. I'm trying to get 150 signatures today to get a new political party on the ballot here in Utah." From there people would only ask easy questions like, "What's the party called?", "What do you stand for?".  My answers were easy, too. "It's called the Justice Party." "It stands for getting the corrupting influence of money out of government." What I was asking for was small, a non-obligatory signature with address and date of birth, and around 80% of the people I spoke to agreed to sign. It took quite awhile, however, to get between houses and I was only getting 10-12 signatures an hour. I had started at 3pm and I went door to door until 8pm when it was completely dark. 

From the neighborhoods I went to bars. I went to the bartender first, ordered a beer, and gave him my pitch. Having heard how polite I was in asking him for his signature he openly encouraged me to talk to everyone else in the bar. I would go to a table and sit down and give my pitch to surprised bar patrons. Then it was onward with the same formula at all the open-late coffeeshops. When I finished that night I had collected 112 signatures. I received text messages from two other volunteers--they had together collected 20 signatures. It was short of our goal but was we were close. This was how each day continued for the next week, until another volunteer, Ty Markham, was able to replace my efforts. An energetic 60 year old woman, she went out everyday to universities, libraries, and coffee shops, and gathered close to 200 signatures a day with the help of a few other volunteers. During our petition drive I kept a blog here: http://www.utpetition.blogspot.com/ and posted to my personal Facebook page everyday. This kept everyone updated and got me a few more volunteers. 

When the deadline came we had met our goal: 3000 signatures (we turned in 3,048 to be exact). The minimum required was 2,000 but we knew many would be deemed invalid. Two weeks later we were informed the the Lt. Governor's office that only 2,060 were validated--they disqualified nearly a thousand signatures! 

The bylaws that we submitted were adapted from the bylaws found on this website, go on the top bar to "press & media", then select "documents". From our core group of volunteers we selected officers for the party and began a phone tree to find potential candidates in Utah to run for different offices up for election in 2012. From here we hope to build the party through networking on campuses with "Students for Justice" groups, through different chambers of commerce, through social meet-ups like "Just-Us drinking".  We have a weekly meeting on Sundays that used to be held at the local library but now is in a meeting room at Rocky's headquarters.  

Walter Mason

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Posts: 20
Reply with quote  #2 
I didn't include the research stage of calling the Utah Elections Office and making sure I had a thorough working knowledge of the requirements for the party being recognized by the state (and therefore on the ballot). I also forgot to mention that as soon as we turned in our filing documents we began to fill out our FEC paperwork. We will have to start a new thread for FEC items...
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