First, try to acquire signatures from everyone you know, then send out a canvassing team with your petition to gather additional signatures. For example, in order to run for mayor of New York City, you must collect 7,500 signatures. Signatures can also be obtained at community events, town halls, and fundraisers. As long as they are not gathered illegally, any person qualified to vote may sign a petition.
In the United States, it is required by law that candidates running for office file documents with their local election officials containing the name of the candidate, address, date of birth, political party affiliation, and a statement of intent to run for office. The signature of at least 1 percent of the registered voters in the last gubernatorial election is needed to place a candidate's name on the ballot. If no candidate receives this threshold, there will be a primary election held on the same day as the general election in which voters choose among all the candidates who have filed for that election.
In most states, including New York, candidates for mayor must be citizens of the country or people born in the country who have lived here for several years. Some states require that candidates be residents of the state or district they seek. Other states permit non-citizens to run for office but do not require them to declare their citizenship status on the ballot page. In such cases, candidates would write "noncitizen" on the ballot page.
The petitions must be signed by registered voters in an amount equivalent to 5% of the votes cast for all governor candidates in the last gubernatorial election. As of November 6, 2018, the total number of signatures necessary was 623,212. The deadline to submit these signatures is five months from the date they were filed.
The initiative process allows the people to directly vote on issues before them. It is one way that citizens can influence government policy and create laws. In order for an initiative to appear on the ballot, it must be approved by the legislature or by local governments closest to the issue at hand. If it is approved by either body, the measure then goes before voters. Voters can vote "yes" or "no" on whether or not they want the law to become part of the state constitution. If a majority "yes" votes, then the law becomes part of the constitution. If not, it does not become part of the constitution.
Initiatives have been used throughout history to address issues such as limiting horse racing activities to prevent damage to wetlands, banning smoking in public places, providing financial assistance for college students, and creating environmental protection agencies. Some initiatives have even created new laws, such as a 2002 measure that banned same-sex marriage in California. However, an initiative cannot change existing constitutional provisions or provisions made by statute.
The minimum number of signatures required for an initiative petition is 8% (for a state constitution amendment) or 5% (for a legislation) of the number of individuals who voted in the most recent governor's election. This means that to require a vote on your amendment, you would need about 56,000 names of registered voters.
In addition, at least 1,000 valid signatures must be obtained from each congressional district within the state. If you cannot meet this requirement, your initiative will not be placed before the voters.
The basic rule is this: if you want your initiative petition to be considered by voters, you have to get enough signatures to qualify it for the ballot. Some people believe that if you can collect as many signatures as possible, then your measure will be able to win approval even if it doesn't meet the requirement of majority support. That isn't true. The only way your initiative can win approval is if it gets more votes than all other initiatives on the ballot. If your measure isn't qualified for the ballot, no one will know how many signatures you collected.