COVID-19 pandemic changes the way signatures are gathered for petitions

People have probably been asked to sign their name for something in the past. It may have happened outside a Diamondbacks game or a grocery store, but the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way ballot measure campaigns operate.

Simon Beach, a signature collector, says there’s a noticeable change in how he approaches people

"Not approaching them if they feel uncomfortable. Starting from a distance and making sure they’re alright with us coming up," said Beach.

Beach and Petition Partners are working on some major citizen-led initiatives, such as Invest in Ed, criminal justice reform, and marijuana legalization. Now, everyone gets their own pen, and everything will be sanitized.

"Going up to people in public, always stand 10 feet back. Make sure there are clean pens and boards on the ground for them," said Beach.

Petition Partners completely shut things down for eight days when Arizona's stay-at-home order went into effect. There was a 30% drop in April signature collections compared to 2018.

"We just didn’t have that many locations with high traffic locations. We had to create it ourselves by reapproaching the door to door model," said Andrew Chavez, owner of Petition Partners.

There’s a little more than a month left before the signature deadline. It’s crunch time during a pandemic, and it could significantly change the November election

"During a pandemic, we still have, really, social issues we have to tackle. It doesn’t mean the ballot measures go away, it just means that they’re more difficult," said Chavez.