As you have probably heard by now, the initiative petitions we submitted to the Secretary of State’s office were approved for circulation on Wednesday. I know many of you are champing at the bit to sign the petition and start gathering signatures yourself, and I commend you on your enthusiasm for the cause.
But before we launch a full campaign, however, we must assess whether likely 2014 voters will pass any of these measures at the ballot box in November. For that reason, we are hiring a firm to conduct scientific polling on the official ballot language approved by the Secretary of State. Polling is most accurate when respondents are presented with the specific question as it would appear on the ballot, so that is why we could not conduct this polling earlier.
I’ve also been contacted by a number of people requesting to be surveyed as part of the poll. Unfortunately, that is not how this works. In order for the poll to reflect likely 2014 Missouri voters, the participants have to be randomly selected from the voter rolls. If we didn’t care about accuracy, we could easily contact 1,000 of our supporters and ask them what they think, but the whole purpose of the survey is to get accurate, meaningful results that will give us a reliable prediction of how voters are likely to feel about our initiative.
We hope to receive results of the poll by the beginning of February, and if around 60 percent of likely 2014 voters surveyed say they will vote for our measure, we will very likely pursue a campaign this year. 60 percent is considered to be a very safe benchmark because even if support decreases somewhat by Election Day, which is common with initiatives, it will still pass. I am optimistic that the polling will show strong support, but that hunch needs to be tested scientifically.
In the meantime, those of you who are eager to do something to support the cause can take a few steps to prepare for a possible campaign.
- Get registered to vote, update your registration, and encourage others to do the same. You have to be registered to vote and give your correct registered voting address for your signature on an initiative petition to be valid, and there is no excuse for not being registered now that you can sign up to vote or update your information online.
- Sign up for our volunteer list. Whenever we run a legalization campaign, whether 2014 or 2016, we will let you know where you can sign the petition in our weekly newsletter and inform people signed up as volunteers about where they can go to get trained and receive petitions to circulate.
- Contribute financially. I know I say this a lot, but initiative campaigns are very expensive. Just gathering the signatures to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot can cost nearly a million dollars. Even if we do not pursue a campaign in 2014, we plan to continue our public education campaign and support reform in the state legislature.
Thank you for all your support, and I am looking forward to what I hope will be great polling results in a couple weeks!