There are two main ways a candidate’s name gets put on the ballot. The candidate may pay a small fee or they may circulate a petition and collect a representative number of signatures from registered voters. Paying the fee is quick, easy, and less complicated so it is no surprise most candidates just pay the fee.
Circulating a petition requires the candidate get out to meet, greet, and convince enough people you are worthy of their support by signing your petition. Additionally, the petition will be reviewed and certified by the elections officials to insure it has been signed by the required minimum number of registered voters eligible to vote in Hays County. As a result, it is important to gather extra signatures because some signatures might be disqualified or can’t be verified. Obviously, petitioning onto the ballot requires an extensive amount of time and effort.
Why did I choose the harder method rather than just paying the small fee like my opponents? I feel it is important to meet as many of the people I would represent as possible to let them get to know me and hopefully earn their confidence that I would be a good Justice of the Peace. I do not want to be just another recognizable name on the ballot. Instead I want the voters of Precinct 4 to know that I’m the best, most qualified candidate.
Spending my evenings and weekends walking around neighborhoods and knocking on doors has had an added benefit. I have met some great people who have not only signed my petition but encouraged me to push ahead and have pledged their support for my campaign. I have also had the opportunity to discuss many important issues with them and even educate a few on the important responsibilities associated with the office of the Justice of the Peace. Although I have come back home hot and tired on occasion, I have always felt more invigorated by the responses I have received.
I now understand why the petition method for getting onto the ballot is an option. There is no better way to truly feel a part of the people you represent. Ads, flyers, mailers, and events may expose a candidate to the masses and even build name recognition. However, meeting with voters one-on-one is how they get to know you and you get to know what is most important to them. It is the basis of grassroots campaigning.
Do not be surprised if you get a knock on the door and find me on your door step. I am not there to solicit, sell you anything, or ask for a donation. Please feel free to ignore my knock as I will only try once and then move on so as not to be a nuisance. If I arrive at an inconvenient time, please don’t hesitate to let me know and I will thank you for your time then move on to the next house. My only desire in knocking on your door is to introduce myself as one of your neighbors, inform you of my intent to run for the office of the Justice of the Peace, explain to you why I feel qualified for the position, and answer any questions you might have. If you feel confident I would be a good representative of your interests as Justice of the Peace, I would appreciate your signature supporting my petition to be a candidate for the office. I thank you for your time and encourage you to contact me should you have any questions or concerns regarding my candidacy or the office in general.
Once I have gained the confidence of a sufficient number of eligible registered voters to earn a position on the ballot, the hard work of gaining the confidence of enough voters who turn out for the Primary to become Justice of the Peace begins. To those who I have already visited, it has been a pleasure to meet you. To those who have signed my petition, Thank You! And to those who I have yet to meet, I look forward to getting to know you and earning your trust.