You know, I'll be glad when May 11 is in the rearview mirror, because then we won't see any more stories about petition signature gathering, which for the most part about as interesting as they sound. This one covers all of the ground that should be familiar to anyone who's read even one of these stories before: Some people are excited about signing a petition for Strayhorn or Friedman, for a variety of reasons. Both campaigns have volunteer signature-gatherers, with the Strayhorn campaign also paying for it. Both campaigns are confident they'll get what they need, but cranky about the process. Etc etc etc.
I guess what frustrates me about articles like this is that if you're going to bother to talk to the people who are supporting the effort, why not try to answer some of the questions that this unprecedented four-way race has raised from the beginning? Questions like:
- For whom did you vote in the 2002 Governor's race? The 2004 Presidential race?
- If this candidate fails to qualify for the ballot, what will you do?
- Have you ever voted in a primary? If so, why didn't you this time?
Yes, what you'll get is anecdotal evidence, and yes, these questions should be asked by pollsters. But so what? Even anecdotal evidence is more than what we have now about how Strayhorn and Friedman may affect the vote this year. Everyone is guessing, and every other story that even mentions the petition process, like the ones about Strayhorn's lawsuit, has hashed and rehashed all the process-oriented details from this piece. Why not tread some new ground?
Oh, and if you've ever wondered how something becomes conventional wisdom:
Friedman and Strayhorn have used different strategies in selecting petition-signing locations: Strayhorn's volunteers frequented school events and have petitions available at law offices, while Friedman has focused more on restaurants and bars.