Congrats! You have an Initiative 81 Petition!
Let’s get it filled out correctly!
In your hands is a LEGAL DOCUMENT called a “Ballot Access Petition.” Another name is a “Circulating Petition” and a DC voter that signs this Initiative 81 petition is called a “Petitioner.” In order to get Initiative 81 on November’s general election ballot, the campaign must have 5% of the registered DC voters in 5 of the 8 Wards sign the Initiative 81 ballot access petition (About 30,000 petitioners!). You can help the campaign becoming a “Petition Circulator” by having all the DC voters in your home sign this petition and sending it back to us.
This page contains information about the anatomy of the Initiative 81 petition, how to fill it out, and how to send it back to the campaign.
There are 4 steps to correctly filling out the Initiative 81 petition:
- STEP 1 – Read the Petition
- STEP 2 – Sign the Petition
- STEP 3 – Sign the Circulator Affidavit of Circulation
- STEP 4 – Return the Petition
You ready? Here we go!
STEP 1 – READ THE PETITION
Before you write anything on the petition, we suggest that you read the entire petition first.
You will find 3 Sections on the petition:
- The Summary Statement
- The Signing Area
- The Petition Circulators Affidavit of Circulation
The Summary Statement was proposed by the campaign and edited by the DC Board of Elections before we adopted the petition. People often ask “What am I signing?” and the Summary Statement explains Initiative 81 in layperson’s terms. If you want to read the complete text of Initiative 81, please click here.
The Signing Area contains 5 Rows where a Petition Circulator (You!) can have 5 DC voters (You plus 4 others) sign the petition. This means that each petition can have a minimum of 1 DC voter and a maximum of 5 DC voters can sign. The Signing Area is the most complex part of the petition and we’ll go over each section in Step 2 below.
The Petition Circulators Affidavit of Circulation is an important legal component of this petition. By signing this section of the petition you are affirming to the DC Board of Elections that you are (1) at least 18 years of age; (2) either a resident of the District of Columbia, or a resident of another jurisdiction who registered as a petition circulator [See FAQ below!] with the Board prior to circulating this petition; (3) you were in the presence of each person who signed the petition at the time it was signed; (4) according to the best information available to you, each signature is the genuine signature of the person whose name it purports to be; and (5) the signatures on this petition were obtained between specific dates (or the same date!).
STEP 2 – SIGN THE PETITION
Each Box in the Signing Area contains the following sections:
- Signature (A)
- Address (B)
- Printed Name of Signer (C)
- Date Signed (D)
- Ward (E)
As Petition Circulator, you can legally fill out each Box EXCEPT for the Signature Box (A). Only the registered DC voter can legally sign their name in the Signature Box. If you have multiple DC voters in your home, you can fill out each Box and present the petition for them to sign their names in Signature Box.
IMPORTANT: The signature needs to match the signature that is on file with the DC Board of Elections. When you show up to vote, the worker at the precinct asks you to sign a tablet and they compare your signature to the one on file in order to allow you to vote. The same goes for Circulating Petitions. Often the signature matches or is similar to the signature you have on your DC ID.
The Address Box (B) needs only:
- Street Number
- Street Name
- Quadrant (NW, NE, SW, SE)
- Apartment (if applicable)
You DO NOT need to include “Washington, DC” OR your Zip Code.
- 2448 Massachusetts Ave. NW
- 1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 500
- 300 Martin Luther King Ave. SE
- 600 4th St. SW, #400
REMEMBER: Spell out the entire name of the street. For example, Pennsylvania Ave., New Hampshire Ave, North Carolina Ave., or Martin Luther King Ave. Do not write PA Ave., NH Ave., N. Carolina Ave., MLK Ave. Do not shorten the street name!
There are 4 Quadrants in DC : NW, NE, SW, SE. All DC addresses have a Quadrant. There are multiple addresses in DC that are identical except for their Quadrant, so make sure you include the Quadrant!
Not every DC address has an apartment or suite number. Some single family homes have Unit A and Unit B. Some have BSMT, Suite, or an Apartment Number. Please include entire address, except “Washington, DC” or the Zip Code.
It’s extremely important that this is written legibly. If you can’t read it, we can’t read it, and the DC Board of Elections can’t read it. Use your best handwriting!
The Printed Name Box (C) is the printed name of the DC voter.
IMPORTANT: If you have a common first & last name, there might be multiple DC voters with your name. Please include the middle initial. For example, John Smith should be written as John Q. Smith.
The name entered here must match the name that the DC Board of Elections has on file. If the DC voter has recently changed their name, like after marriage, divorce, or gender affirmation, we request that the DC voter uses their former name on this petition.
The Date Signed Box (D) needs to include the day, month, and year that the DC voter’s signature was made on the petition. This information is needed to ensure the DC voter who signs the petition was a registered voter at the time they signed the petition. Since the year 2020 is unique, we recommend writing “2020” instead of just “20.” For example, 5/14/2020, not 5/14/20.
The Ward Box (E) is challenging for many DC voters because they don’t know which Ward they live in. The District of Columbia is broken up into 8 Wards and in order for Initiative 81 to qualify for November’s general election ballot, we need 5% of 5 of the 8 Wards to sign this petition. If you know which Ward you live in, please write the number in this box. If you don’t know your Ward, you can leave this blank and the campaign can add it for you. Or you can find your Ward by entering your address here.
IMPORTANT: Do not enter the sheet number! Once the campaign has received all the petitions, we will then number all the Initiative 81 petitions before we submit the petitions to the DC Board of Elections.
STEP 3 – SIGN THE PETITION CIRCULATOR AFFIDAVIT OF CIRCULATION
- (A) First write your full legal name legibly
- (B) On the next line write your ENTIRE address, including the Zip Code. You can optionally include your Phone Number. (If the DC Board of Elections has questions or concerns about the signatures on your petition, they may need reach out)
- (C)Check the dates in each Row on the petition. Find the date of the first signature and enter this date on the left blank. Then find the date of the last signature on the petition and put this date in the right blank. If your petition has only one signature, then the dates will be the same for both blanks. If your petition contains signatures from multiple DC voters that were filled in sequentially, Row 1 to Row 5, then Row 1 will have the first date and Row 5 will have the last date.
- (D) Now you are ready to sign the petition the affidavit!
- (E) Enter today’s date on the line to the left of your signature line.
If all the signatures on the petition were made on the same day, this petition will have the same date written three times in this section.
STEP 4 – RETURN THE PETITION
If you received the petition in the mail, your petition came with an envelope that will allow you to mail back this petition free of charge. Simply fold the petition, put it inside the envelope, and take it to your nearest mailbox. Not sure where your nearest mailbox is? Please use this convenient tool.
If you downloaded the petition off the website, then you either mail it back to us using your own stamp and envelope, or you can take a high quality photograph with your cell phone and email the photograph to Submit@DecrimNatureDC.org
THATS IT! You just made history!
Petition – Frequently Asked Questions
We understand you may have a bunch of questions about filling out this petition. We have a bunch of common questions and answers below. If you have questions about Initiative 81 or the Campaign to Decriminalize Nature DC, please read this Frequently Asked Questions. If you require further help, please call 202-744-2671 between 9am and 9pm.
I made a mistake. They signed their name in the wrong box. What should I do?
Mistakes happen! You have 5 Rows on the petition and if you make a mistake in one Box, go to the next Row down and start over and have the person sign the petition, enter the Address, Name, Date, and Ward. For example, in Row 1, the Signature was accidentally put in the Printed Name box. Simply go to Row 2 and have the person re-sign their name in the Signature box, print their Name, Address, Date, and Ward. Remember, you can fill out each Box EXCEPT the Signature box.
If the petitioner has part of their required information in two different Rows, you may need to go to the next row down and start over. For example, the Address was entered in Row 1, but signed in Row 2. Since the signature is in the correct Box, the petitioner can re-enter their address, name, date, and Ward in Row two.
If the petition signs in the wrong box, but enters all the correct information in the rest of the boxes on the Row, you will need to start over. It is imperative that you NEVER sign someone else’s name unless they are physically unable to do so (there is one exception, listed below).
Can I leave the petition in my living room and have my housemates sign when I’m in my bedroom?
No, you must witness EVERY signature on the petition. In order to practice social distancing, you can leave the petition on the table and stand 6 feet away on the other side of the table in order to witness the signature. At no times should you ever leave your petition unattended.
I don’t know my Ward. What should I do?
It’s okay. Not everyone knows their Ward. You can leave the box blank. We will fill it in for you. Or you can click here to look it up!
My friend said I can sign for them. Is that okay?
No, every person must sign the petition themselves. Under no circumstances can you legally sign for someone unless they are physically unable to sign the petition due to handicap. For those who cannot physically sign the petition due to handicap, you MUST download and print out a copy of the DC Board of Elections’ Signature Attestation Form, fill it out, and submit this completed document along with this petition. If you do not have a printer to do this, please call the campaign at 202-733-4640 and we will mail you the form.
When should I mail this back?
As soon as possible! We have until July 6 to collect nearly 30,000 signatures from DC voters like yourself. We need to keep track of each petition, so the sooner you mail it back to us, the sooner we know how many signatures we need. Ideally, we would like it back by May 31st at the latest. However, we found its best to try to complete the petition within 24 hours of receiving it.