The accelerated calendar for the special election for US Senate makes signature gathering all the more difficult for candidates, particularly the ones just getting in the race. This weekend's blizzard is only contributing to the stress that field directors are surely feeling as it all but eliminates a major signature gathering weekend. At the handful of public forums I attended this week signature gatherers were out in full force for the campaigns and that's a smart move by them because people that go to civic gatherings are almost certainly registered voters.
While out hoarding assorted canned goods and batteries for the blizzard of doom I did not come across anybody gathering signatures for any of the candidates. This is baffling because the stores are jammed with people right now stocking up on goods like they are doomsday preppers.
Stephen Lynch's campaign said that they are going the full volunteer route when it comes to getting on the ballot. Dan Winslow's campaign is using a mix of volunteers and paid gatherers. I have seen many Ed Markey volunteers out in the field gathering signatures but his campaign has not stated how they are approaching the ballot access issue.
There's nothing wrong with campaigns paying people to gather signatures to get on a ballot. It's a pretty common practice not just in Massachusetts but across the country for candidates and political organizations to pay people to obtain the required to signatures for ballot access.
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