The Hard Work of Party Building: The Justice Party’s Utah Petition Drive

The newly formed Justice Party qualified for a line on the ballot this year in Utah by collecting over 2,000 valid signatures.  Their effort was surely made easier, in part, because the party’s founder and presidential nominee is former Salt Lake City mayor Rocky Anderson.  Still, collecting that many valid signatures is no small task.

One of the party’s leading volunteers in Utah, Walter Mason, posted a detailed account of how they managed to get it done a few weeks ago on the Justice Party’s forum.  It’s worth a read for anyone facing a petitioning or organizing hurdle.

“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,” writes Mason.  “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.”

This seems to be how most petition drives go.  Many people say that they want to help, but few understand how to actually organize and accomplish the task.

Luckily for the Utah Justice Party, Mason took the bull by the horns.  He set out one afternoon and kept going well into the night, netting over 100 signatures on his own.  As his efforts began to bear fruit others began to step forward and by the time the deadline had rolled around the Justice Party had just over 3,000 signatures.  Of the signatures submitted only 2,060 were deemed valid by the state, just enough to earn the party qualified status.

Mason then notes that the party selected officers, filed paperwork with the FEC and has set about the task of recruiting candidates to seek local offices.

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.
Read the whole article here.

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