The Madeleine Brand Show for May 2, 2012

How much is a signature worth?

Mercer 3027

Susan Valot/KPCC

Torrance Unified School District parents, teachers and administrators line up to sign a petition against state education cuts outside of Torrance High School in Torrance, Calif.

If you've been to a grocery store or farmers market lately, you've likely been approached by someone holding a clipboard, asking you whether you are registered to vote or if you would sign a petition to support this or that proposition.

But did you ever stop to wonder what kind of compensation these workers receive? As it turns out, most workers canvassing the entrance to your favorite food stand get paid by the signature — anywhere from a dollar fifty to three dollars per John Hancock.

It may not seem much, but the aggregate cost to employ such workers means that millions of dollars may be spent just to get a measure on the ballot. And that's got some critics complaining about the high cost of California's initiative system.

Jamie Court, President of Consumer Watchdog, is advocating for a ballot measure that would regulate health insurance rates here in California and has hired such signature seekers. He joins the show to discuss the high costs of political canvassing.

Guest:

Jamie Court is President of Consumer Watchdog.


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