Petition Drive Bait-n-Switch
November 7, 2005 7:00 AM   Subscribe

Beer and Wine, Not Adam and Steve Just before you step inside of your local supermarket there's a person holding a clipboard asking you if you are a registered voter in this state. "Yes.." Would you like to sign a petition to allow this very store to sell beer and wine? "OK" You glance at the cover page on the clipboard then quickly scribble your name and address on page 5 and hand back the clipboard. Thank you. Just as many other hurried shoppers did before you, you have just added your name to the growing list of voters who support an amendment to ban same sex marriage. The family-focused (or somewhat obsessed) political group that organized the petition drive hired a political consulting firm that in turn hired subcontractors who are paid by number of signatures gathered. Discussed on the blue here before was another effort to make public names and addresses of all who signed the petitions.
posted by StarForce5 (49 comments total)

 
Which is more "wrong"... to mislead people as to what you are asking them to sign, or to be enough of an idiot to sign something you haven't read and considered carefully...
posted by HuronBob at 7:06 AM on November 7, 2005


What anecdotal evidence is there of petitions doing any more that wasting paper and causing back strain?
posted by CynicalKnight at 7:15 AM on November 7, 2005


Christians...can they get any lower?!
posted by evilelvis at 7:15 AM on November 7, 2005


subcontractors. paid by the signature. predictable results. yawn.
posted by quonsar at 7:19 AM on November 7, 2005


CynicalKnight - Clearly, you don't live in Maine.
posted by selfnoise at 7:20 AM on November 7, 2005


which is why my answer to the first question is "no"

or "get the f*ck out of my face!"
posted by lemonfridge at 7:20 AM on November 7, 2005


"Shoppers at supermarkets and stores such as Wal-Mart say that after signing a separate petition to allow beer and wine sales in grocery stores, they were asked to sign the gay-marriage measure with little or sometimes no explanation."

I don't know if being asked to sign a second different petition would be considered "bait and switch".
posted by sharksandwich at 7:24 AM on November 7, 2005


CynicalKnight: The petition is required to get the proposed amendment to the Massachusetts Constituion on the ballot. They need 65,000 signatures.

HuronBob: I think a lot of people are bad at saying "no" to others. They feel it's easier to sign something than to come up with an excuse not to. I always say "I'm sorry but I never sign any petition without indepenently researching it first. If you have a web site, I'll check it out."
posted by justkevin at 7:25 AM on November 7, 2005


justkevin... yep, you're right... and that would make them "idiots"....
posted by HuronBob at 7:28 AM on November 7, 2005


to be enough of an idiot to sign something you haven't read and considered carefully

IANAL, but I do know that contract law specifically protects people who sign something they haven't read completely by requiring a contract to be a meeting of the minds. If you tell me, "here, sign this and I'll give you $1,500 for free" and then you show up at my house demanding I move my stuff (because you just bought it for $1,500), not only do I not have to give you my house, but you probably also committed fraud. This is why you have to sign hundreds of separate pieces of paper all of which say HEY IDIOT YOU'RE SELLING YOUR HOUSE when you transfer ownership of real estate.

I have no idea whether a petition constitutes a contract, but at least the collectors are guilty of fraud by the spirit of the law (and if they are not found so, the law is broken). Unfortunately, APC look like a fat stack of lawyers so they were probably smart enough to hire collectors with a no-liability contract (which is one of the big reasons to subcontract in the first place), and it will be hard to prove that the order to mislead came from APC or MFI, especially because the pay-by-the-signature model does not, by its nature, require an order to mislead at all.
posted by Vetinari at 7:33 AM on November 7, 2005


CynicalKnight - Clearly, you don't live in Maine.

Fixed link to ballot referendum.

Vote No on 1.
/Mainer

posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:34 AM on November 7, 2005


What anecdotal evidence is there of petitions doing any more that wasting paper and causing back strain?
What a silly question. These aren't INTARWEB BANE TEH LROD OF TEH RINGS petitions. Petitions get people on ballots for elections. Petitions are the start of referenda in Colorado, and are part of our state constitution. Ask Douglas Bruce how he got TABOR passed, and the story will start with citizen petitions.

WRT the topic, misrepresenting a petition is a crime in Colorado, and will not only invalidate signatures gathered under misrepresentation, it can result in some fine or penalty for the gathering party, depending on how many signatures were invalidated and how egrigious the problem was.
posted by boo_radley at 7:35 AM on November 7, 2005


Well, shit. Sorry about that link screwup.

(I voted on Friday)
posted by selfnoise at 7:38 AM on November 7, 2005


Clearly, you don't live in Maine.


"People's Veto", eh? I do not live there, but I now surf corrected, thank-you.
posted by CynicalKnight at 7:40 AM on November 7, 2005


Down with gays, let's get drunk instead!

If Jesus wanted to approve of gays like he did with wine, he would have turned the Canaan bride into a man, or the bridegroom into a woman. But he didn't! And that is why same sex marriage is wrong.

*bows to applause from the holy crowd*
posted by funambulist at 7:40 AM on November 7, 2005


We did it for your own good. How else can we save you from yourselves, except to trick you into it?
posted by fungible at 7:40 AM on November 7, 2005


So if selling beer and wine more openly is so commonly supported as to be an easy "in" for these subcontractors, why the hell are our beer and wine laws so restrictive?
posted by geoff. at 7:41 AM on November 7, 2005


Which is more "wrong"... to mislead people as to what you are asking them to sign, or to be enough of an idiot to sign something you haven't read and considered carefully...

I think the most-wrong in this situation are the cocksuckers who want to ban same-sex marriage in the first place.
posted by wakko at 7:46 AM on November 7, 2005


The article says "after signing a separate petition to allow beer and wine sales in grocery stores, they were asked to sign the gay-marriage measure with little or sometimes no explanation".

I'm assuming it'd be a clear case of misrepresentation if they told people they were signing one petition while actually signing another, but if they just sneaked in a request to sign a separate petition, then isn't it up to those signing to check what the second signature is about?
posted by funambulist at 7:47 AM on November 7, 2005


What is truly funny is that gay sex is mentioned two or three times in the bible. But lying or deceiving others is mentioned virtually everywhere the bible talks about what is right or wrong -- probably at least a hundred times.

If Jesus is real, and hell is real, all evolutionists, anti-gay, pro-life and other so-called christians who practice deception, or allow the practice of deception in their name (the bible is clear on this distinction) to further their cause are going to hell.
posted by lastobelus at 8:00 AM on November 7, 2005


all evolutionists, anti-gay, pro-life and other so-called christians who practice deception, or allow the practice of deception in their name (the bible is clear on this distinction) to further their cause are going to hell.


Nooooooooooo. I can't think of anything more hellish then spending eternity rubbing elbows with the fervently fundamental. On the other hand, Heaven doesn't sound very heavenly if Pat Robertson, Bill Frist, and Oral Roberts are going to be there.

I pray for oblivion.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:22 AM on November 7, 2005


Damn those self-hating cocksuckers, wakko.
posted by longbaugh at 8:24 AM on November 7, 2005


If Jesus is real, and hell is real, all evolutionists, anti-gay, pro-life and other so-called christians who practice deception, or allow the practice of deception in their name (the bible is clear on this distinction) to further their cause are going to hell.

Yeah, but the political consultants will get the hottest rooms.
posted by londonmark at 8:25 AM on November 7, 2005


Personally I think the bigger issue than BS petitions is in the 21st century we repeatedly put civil liberties up to popular vote.
posted by phearlez at 8:26 AM on November 7, 2005


My wife and I had just moved to a small, southern Maine town the last time there was a similar move for an equal rights initative on the ballot. A neighbor who I had never met appeared at our door holding a clipboard. Using innocuous language, he almost suckered me into signing the petition. It was then that I asked which organization he represented. As soon as he said "christian coalition" I suspected things were not as they seemed. I took the time to read his petition, told him why I refused to sign it, and sent him on his way.

Fast forward to last week: A few people I deal with daily started a discussion about the current initiative. They are both seemingly intelligent, educated people. Person 1 said that he would vote to repeal the current equal rights law because, in his words, the law could force a landlord to rent to gays, and the gays would use this as an excuse to "recruit" the landlord's children. Person 2 was voting for repeal because he fears that he could be sued for not hiring somebody who's not qualified, just because they are gay.

Ignorance runs rampant.
posted by SteveInMaine at 8:29 AM on November 7, 2005


the gays would use this as an excuse to "recruit" the landlord's children

Maine has a Gay Militia?
posted by oneirodynia at 8:36 AM on November 7, 2005


Yeah. I didn't realize until I moved to Maine that direct democracy ideas like Vetos and Referendums are generally just used to sucker well-meaning but witless people. I've now decided that the whole indirect democracy business was a good idea and we should stick with it.
posted by selfnoise at 8:53 AM on November 7, 2005


i always tell petitioners that i am canadian , and they leave me alone .

posted by mishaco at 8:55 AM on November 7, 2005


Personally I think the bigger issue than BS petitions is in the 21st century we repeatedly put civil liberties up to popular vote.
posted by phearlez at 10:26 AM CST on November 7 [!]


I like you.

SteveInMaine: I had no idea things were like that in ME. I've actually held Maine out as a sort of promised land, as I have a job waiting for me there if I ever want to move.

That's the most depressing thing I've read all day.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:03 AM on November 7, 2005


So wait, is this an either/or thing? Legal same-sex marriages or I can by booze at the grocery store? Because, shit, that would be a tough decision.
posted by Plutor at 9:06 AM on November 7, 2005


I saw this on the news last night. The gal that came out and said she had worked for the company doing these "bait and switch" signings got asked to do a fake one for the station, to show how it was done.

She had a clipboard with the petition on it, rubber-banded in the middle of the page. After she got a signature on the wine petition, she flipped the page up halfway (so you couldn't read the text) and asked for a second signature, claiming "backup copy".
posted by ArsncHeart at 9:16 AM on November 7, 2005


she flipped the page up halfway (so you couldn't read the text) and asked for a second signature, claiming "backup copy".
posted by ArsncHeart at 9:16 AM PST on November 7


If I were in the legislature, I would write a bill calling that "Subversion of Democracy," and make it punishable by life in prison. Jesus fucking Christ.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:22 AM on November 7, 2005


Um yeah, signing things without reading them is incredibly stupid, unless you sign someone else's name and address and then it really doesn't matter, does it?

Or just don't sign it. Its really not that hard, is it?

Of course, this is just another action being taken in a war against our rights. Every action is a battlefield.

Tomorrow should be a nice comeuppance for Governor Asshat here in California. All his propositions should go down in flames and maybe he'll learn a little humility but I sincerely doubt it.

Optimus_Chyme, and I would second your bill in a heartbeat.
posted by fenriq at 9:48 AM on November 7, 2005


If I were in the legislature, I would write a bill calling that "Subversion of Democracy," and make it punishable by life in prison.

fortunately, you are not in the legislature.
posted by quonsar at 10:29 AM on November 7, 2005


"she flipped the page up halfway (so you couldn't read the text) and asked for a second signature, claiming "backup copy".
posted by ArsncHeart at 9:16 AM PST on November 7"


I have no problem with that....given that I have the right to vigilante justice.
I mean if it’s ok to lie to achieve what you believe are ‘good’ ends, where’s the flaw in causing someone serious bodily harm to acheive ‘good’ ends?

heh, reminds me of the Churchill quote: "We've stablished what you are, we're just negotiating price"
posted by Smedleyman at 10:44 AM on November 7, 2005


'Twas Shaw, not Churchill.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 10:52 AM on November 7, 2005


> Beer and Wine, Not Adam and Steve

Why did I think that this was going to be an AppleFilter post?
posted by vhsiv at 11:04 AM on November 7, 2005


Vote NO! on all ballot initiatives.

Seriously, I have yet to see one that didn't have unintended consequences.
posted by ilsa at 11:10 AM on November 7, 2005


Which is more "wrong"...

It's abundantly clear that it's "more wrong" to mislead people. Next question?

Seriously: ANYBODY CAN BE CONNED. THAT INCLUDES YOU. Anyone who thinks there's some kind of equivalence between conning people and letting yourself be conned ought to have that tattooed on the inside of their eyelid.
posted by lodurr at 11:14 AM on November 7, 2005


She had a clipboard with the petition on it, rubber-banded in the middle of the page. After she got a signature on the wine petition, she flipped the page up halfway (so you couldn't read the text) and asked for a second signature, claiming "backup copy".

"Backup copy" is obviouslythe fraudulent practice there. Quite different than "another petition."

If they can prove that this fraud was an established practice at the subcontractor, it seems like the legitimacy of the entire initiative is threatened. Or at least it *should* be.

Cheers to lodurr for stating the obvious.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:33 AM on November 7, 2005


Maybe I'm just missing something (from the somewhat lame supporting links), but it seems very obvious to me that both petitions were valid, and the "crime" was having the same firm trying to get signatures at the same time, with their contracted employees being paid by the signature realizing they could get more signatures by having people sign the less controversial (and probably even popular) petition first, or even just getting them done "together."

Of course, though, it's more fun to just believe the most incriminating thing first.
posted by artifarce at 12:06 PM on November 7, 2005


Thankfully this won't work in the great state of Arizona since all our grocery stores sell beer and wine already.
posted by kjh at 12:26 PM on November 7, 2005


artifarce: The group with the wine sales petition did not hire these contractors and did not accept the signatures gathered by them. ArsncHeart's comment above makes clear how and why they were using the wine sales petition.
posted by StarForce5 at 12:29 PM on November 7, 2005


i always tell petitioners that i am canadian , and they leave me alone

Oddly enough, that doesn't seem to work for me. Maybe that's the difference between volunteers and hired contractors though.
posted by aramaic at 12:31 PM on November 7, 2005


i always tell petitioners that i am canadian , and they leave me alone

I tell everyone I'm Canadian. If you show up at my door and you look like neither my mother nor my partner, you can pretty much be sure I'm Canadian.

Which is more "wrong"... to mislead people as to what you are asking them to sign, or to be enough of an idiot to sign something you haven't read and considered carefully...

You actually have to ask? The former is wrong. The latter is merely unfortunate. Your ascription of idiocy to the latter is...also unfortunate.
posted by birdie birdington at 2:32 PM on November 7, 2005


'Twas Shaw, not Churchill.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 10:52 AM PST on November 7 [!]


D'oh!

Ah, from now on I'll just attribute everything to Twain like everyone else.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:33 PM on November 7, 2005


"Person 2 was voting for repeal because he fears that he could be sued for not hiring somebody who's not qualified, just because they are gay."
The unfortunate point is that this can be pretty true. Working on the board of a co-op that has had plenty of frivolous lawsuits lodged against it over housing law, I can say that even when you're totally in the right, people will still use every claim they can possibly think of to try to game the system. And homosexuality is impossible to prove or disprove in a way that income level isn't, so there's a large chance that people would make fraudulent claims of discrimination based on invented homosexuality. But I don't think that's a reason to stand against making it illegal to discriminate against homosexuality, just something that is inevitable in any system that strives to protect as many people's freedoms as possible.
(I might actually draw an analogy to a reason I can see to stand against legalizing marijuana— that it's hard to have a spot check for pot intoxication, since it lingers and would give too many false positives. But I think that keeping marijuana illegal does more harm than good, so I can discount that problem).
posted by klangklangston at 5:55 PM on November 7, 2005


i always tell petitioners that i am canadian , and they leave me alone .
posted by mishaco at 8:55 AM PST on November 7
[!]

Yeah, but that only works in Canada.



Y'know, I've never heard a reason to ban gay marriage that isn't based entirely in ignorance, incorrectness or the unconstitutional application of faith principles to a broad public.
Shit, I'd vote for legislation that makes it illegal to attempt to limit the rights of your fellow citizens if that wasn't such a thought wasn't so paradoxical.
posted by Jon-o at 7:09 PM on November 7, 2005


Starforce5: You're right, the comment by ArsncHeart does indicate the opposite (and I remember the part where the wine sales group didn't accept the signatures, but I ascribed that to the controversy surrounding how they were obtained, that other petitions were being solicited at the same time). The original link led me to believe otherwise, though, yet the link is now subscribers only (one read before you have to login, perhaps?).

Fundamentally it's also boggling to me that soliciting signatures this way is explicitly admitting that the idea doesn't have a majority acceptance (and trickery would have to be involved to even get it there). That idea seems like it'd be untenable to a mindset which considers itself the moral majority. Thus perhaps another reason why I'm unwilling to believe that most of the opinions in this thread are wrong; it just doesn't make sense.
posted by artifarce at 7:48 PM on November 7, 2005


« Older All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena recently r...  |  85% of college students now us... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments