Petition circulators insist on signatures from students

By Jaime De Haro

It is important to always read anything you sign. At times, I have felt pressured to sign petition forms while on campus.

Your information, even your name, can be used for any purpose. So, be aware of who you’re giving your information to.

At East Los Angeles College, petitioners often walk around or set up tables on campus asking registered voters to sign petitions. They usually explain the purpose of the petition, but sometimes the explanation is brief and rushed.

These petitions are promoted for certain issues.

If a petition receives a compelling amount of signatures, it will be added to a ballot for voters in California in the next statewide election.

However, are these petitioners activists and volunteers? Or, are they simply employees? And, do they genuinely care about the cause they’re promoting?

Well, many of these signature collectors are paid by signature and not by the typical hourly or per-day job. This means that their only motivation may be to get as many signatures as they can.

The signature collectors are required to let you know if they’re paid or volunteers. They are also required to show you an “Official Top Funders Sheet.”

These are the people or businesses in charge of the ballot initiative and the people who pay the petitioners.

“I’ve found the petition people on campus to be very overwhelming at times. Although I let them know that I’m in a rush to get to class, they’ll persistently ask questions about my voter registration status. It’s not a negative thing. But if I don’t have the time, then I don’t want to be followed,” student Cindy Robles said. 

There is nothing wrong with trying to make a change in our society. Many of these petitions may advocate for something students believe in or value.

However, students should still be aware of what they sign.

As a student at ELAC, I value my safety at all times. While walking to the pickup and drop-off zone on campus, I was asked to sign a petition. I declined since I had to meet my Uber driver.

As I waited for my ride, the same person came up to me again.

He explained to me what the petition was about. He confirmed my voter registration status and, ultimately, I felt pressured to sign.

I thought I was done until he told me I had to sign two other pages. These petitions were likely for different causes, but I didn’t have time to read through them since my driver had arrived.

The form requires your full name, signature and home address which can be confidential to many students.

After I signied all three pages, the petitioner said “Thank you, you’re the man. Now, I only need two more signatures and I can go home.”

It didn’t make me feel any better. On the contrary, it left me confused, and I wondered if any other students had the same experience.

No matter how pressured you are, you have the right to refuse to sign. Always keep your information safe and take your time to read any form.

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