I am a Human Being! Tips for successful petition signature gathering.

Getting your candidate on the ballot is no easy task. Here are tips for successful petition signature gathering in Missoula, Montana.

Before presidential candidates can get your vote, they have to get on the ballot in your state. Collecting signatures so a candidate can qualify to be on a ballot is one of the most important steps in any campaign.

For the presidential primary ballot in Montana, candidates need to submit a declaration and oath. They must also submit verified signatures of at least 500 registered voters. Most campaigns aim to collect thousands more signatures than necessary for bragging rights. Also, lots of signatures are invalidated for a number of reasons (the County Clerk office can’t read the handwriting, the address isn’t sufficient, the person who signed isn’t actually registered to vote).

I volunteered to gather signatures for Elizabeth Warren’s campaign. The campaign set the goal of collecting 1,000 signatures in Montana. Here’s my tips and tricks for successful signature gathering efforts.

1: Find your local campaign staffer to help you get plugged in.

This is pretty easy. It’s no secret that if you indicate any kind of interest in helping a political campaign, that they’ll follow you around like a lost puppy.

For Warren’s campaign, I went to her website, made a $2 donation, and received an endless series of texts with all the different ways I could get involved. I responded “Yes” to one asking me to collect signatures for a 3 hour shift on a Sunday morning.

2: Rope in a friend.

Learn from the campaign that just recruited you. Shout from the mountain top that you’re going to be volunteering and ask everyone you know if they want to join you. Ask your friends one at a time, directly. A general “Anyone want to join me?” is going to be met with crickets. Once you ask your friend directly, look at them with expectant excitement until you get a direct ‘yes’ or ‘no.’

3: Show up!

We all sign up for things with the best of intentions. Then Sunday morning rolls around and your partner is cuddled up on the couch watching episode after episode of “Love is Blind” and you have a sense of dread about the 35-degree weather and predicted snowfall. Get over it! This is why you roped in a friend and why you planned a reward (see tip #6).

Get yourself to the quick volunteer orientation. Listen to the directions, drink some coffee, and get your clipboard.

4: Find a good place to stand.

They’ll likely have a few designated places to send you. You can stand anywhere on a public sidewalk. Note that a parking lot outside of a business (like a grocery store parking lot) is private property. You have to get permission from the manager to collect signatures in that case.

Scope out your location and find a place where you can be in people’s walking paths without blocking their access to a business. My friend and I chose a popular market that is known in town for it’s delicious breakfast burritos (see tip #6).

As we expected, there was a steady stream of people coming in and out of the market. We positioned ourselves outside, about 20 feet from the door on either side, and didn’t give people much of a chance to escape us.

5: Be ready for whatever comes your way.

I’ve gathered signatures for ballot initiatives before. I’ve registered people to vote. I’ve made get out the vote phone calls. If you’re an introvert, like me, this might not be for you. But if you’re an introvert who wants to save democracy, you figure out how to prepare yourself and take care of yourself (see tip #6).

During my signature gathering shift I use these strategies:

    • Smile and make eye contact (or try), hold your head up, and appear approachable. If there’s lots of space on the sidewalk, take one or two steps toward the approaching person (not too close!).
    • Ask directly “Are you registered to vote in Montana?”
    • Follow up with “Will you sign this petition to help get Elizabeth Warren on the primary ballot in MT?”

Be prepared for:

    • “Yes?” Seriously, so many people are happy to participate in the process and are just waiting to feel welcomed into the political process. You are there to make their dreams come true! Show your genuine excitement about their participation. One person I asked said that she’d never voted before, but she was going to this year because it felt too important. While voting might feel like a no-brainer to you (especially if you’re volunteering for a campaign at this level), remember that almost 50% of people don’e vote. Don’t shame people for not having been involved before- celebrate that they’re going to be involved this time.
    • “No. Not today.” Smile, because you’re an ambassador for your candidate. But really, if not today, when, Karen? Let them go get their burrito and ask the next person.
    • “I haven’t done my research. So I don’t feel comfortable signing.” Sometimes I can’t help but roll my eyes at this. But then I check myself and realize I live in a news saturated bubble and perhaps people do want to feel more informed- can I blame them?
    • “I’m voting for someone else.” That’s fine! I usually say- “GREAT! Don’t you want that person to win in a fair fight? Getting someone else on the ballot doesn’t obligate you to vote for them and it makes the democratic process as robust as it’s supposed to be.”
    • “PSHSHSHST.” It’s easy for people to be rude to us when we’re holding a clipboard and standing between them and their breakfast burrito. Don’t go after these people to convince them, but don’t let them get you down either! You can often hear me saying in a very calm and normal voice “I’m a HUMAN BEING,” when I get a response like this. If people are downright rude, it’s ok to remind them they can be better than that.
6: Reward yourself!

You did hard work! You saved democracy! You deserve a reward. Make sure your petitions are in a safe, dry place. And enjoy your breakfast burrito (or other treat).

Must Do’s in Missoula

Float into downtown Missoula:Picture

Put in at Sha-ron Put-in, get out at Brennan’s Wave to be right in the middle of downtown.


Grab an Icecream from the Big Dipper: 



Visit our local Mountains:

Hike the “M” during the summer and ski Snowbowl in the winter.

The M


The 3 best menu items in Missoula: A guide.

If you don’t like sushi… then you’ve come to the wrong blog.

Coming in at #1…… We have THE AVOCADO BOMB from Kobe Seafood & Steakhouse.

The Sushi House – Wanderlust in the City

The avocado bomb is a true masterpiece. Avocado STUFFED with spicy tuna, mixed crab, fried topped w/ eel sauce, sweet chili, spring mix salad. Definitely not true Japanese cuisine but whats not to love here? The Tuna, the crab, and the avocado all combine together perfectly in the fryer. For only $9.00, it is worth the price and a secret to many Missoulians. A must have.

Coming in at #2 on our list we have….. THE MASSIVE ATTACK roll from Saketome in the heart of Missoula.

Sushi Ninjas - San Diego California - Food Smackdown


One of Southwest Montana’s Hidden Gems

Located in the heart of southwest Montana, just 15 minutes west of Butte, lies the largest hot springs pools in Montana. Fairmont Hot Springs Resort is often considered one of the best spots in all of Montana. With 153 rooms, the resort attracts guests from all over the western United States. The main attraction that brings everyone to Fairmont: The hot springs.

With two olympic size swimming pools, (indoor and outdoor), and a 350ft waterslide, Fairmont is the perfect spot for all wintertime activities. Located 45 minutes east of Discovery ski area, Fairmont is a big attraction for skiers looking for a ski getaway, or even an evening soak after a long day on the slopes.

So what are all the things Fairmont has to offer on a skication? With special packages and rates that include two nights lodging at Fairmont, four full day lift tickets at Discovery, four waterslide passes, and 24 hour pool access, Fairmont provides you with a full fun weekend on the slopes and in the pool. After a busy day shredding the runs, have a seat at one of Fairmont’s two newly renovated restaurants.

The Springwater Cafe provides a family friendy environment that is suitable for all casual diners. With a large selection of menu items, guests are bound to have an exquisite experience at the Springwater Café. Even if you are not a guest at the resort, no problem, you are welcome to come and dine as well.

Waters Edge is a more upscale dining room overlooking the outdoor swimming pool. Featuring a more high end menu. Waters Edge is more suited for adults, though all children are welcome as well. Waters Edge also has a drink menu, good for unwinding after a long day at Discovery. Also, for those looking to have a more event filled evening, Fairmont also features a full-scale bar at Whiskey Joe’s Lounge.

Whiskey Joe’s features a wide variety of domestic, micro, and local tap beers for your pleasure. Enjoy a night of fun with live entertainment, or try your luck on one of several gaming machines. If you are sitting by the pool, enjoy a nice drink from the indoor pool bar while you relax and soak. There are also plans to renovate the lounge in the future as well.

So if you are an avid skier, like myself, and looking to have an awesome ski weekend, Fairmont and Discovery are a perfect combination for a fun-filled skication. When people say that there is nothing to do in southwest Montana in the Winter, they are flat out wrong. Every weekend is a fun one at one of southwest Montana’s hidden and most popular gems.

-Zach Luebeck


5 Netflix Series You Have to Watch

The world of television and media has been completely reshaped by the likes of streaming services like Netflix. This is mainly because of the streaming and binge worthy capabilities of some of its series. Here are 5 series on Netflix that I believe no one who watches Netflix should not having in their viewing archives. (Not in order of favorites)

1. The Witcher

This series follows the life of Geralt, who is a bounty collecting monster hunter. As a mutated human like witcher, he is met with great distrust from the rest of the human population as he continues to save that same group from ravenous monsters.

2. Narcos

Narcos is a look back at the rise of the cocaine and drug wars that gripped the US and Colombia under the control of Pablo Escobar. As Escobar becomes a billionaire and king of the trade, it also shows the strenuous effort that law enforcement and the government had to make in order to track him down.

3. Peaky Blinders

Peaky Blinders is a series about the urban gangster family the Peaky Blinders which is set in Birmingham, England after WW1. This follows the Blinders never ending turf war against other criminal organizations in a very shellshocked post war Britain.

4. Explained

This series goes into a broad range of relevant topics in todays world. It covers things from Pandemics and cryptocurrency to how the brain works. If you like to learn things about stuff you wont typically learn everyday this is a great pick.

5. Black Mirror

Black Mirror is probably one of my favorite shows of all time. It is a collection of different stories that shed light on the potentially twisted and unknown powers of modern technology. This show’s perspective on how there can be heavy consequences in innovation gives an eerie look into what the future could hold.