WE did it, it’s official – Sara McFadden has qualified to be on the November ballot as a candidate for FL State House District 106. We are all so grateful to our ballot petitioners, and especially to our many community volunteers who networked with neighbors, friends and family – from Marco Island east to Everglades City and north to East Naples; from Pelican Bay south to the City of Naples and north to North Naples and Barefoot Beach – #takeTHATcovid.
It’s not so easy in normal times to qualify by petition – many candidates pay the fee, like Sara’s opponent, Bob Rommel. During a pandemic, it’s near impossible. We caught up with Ms. McFadden who said: “We clearly benefited from our network of enthusiastic and hardworking volunteers when, due to the current social limitations, the law changed the end of March to allow electronic images.”
The first step was to assemble as many emails as possible – we started with donors and also reached out to our volunteers who are active in the community. A special group put all the information in spreadsheets in an attempt to eliminate duplicates and group emails went out daily. After that it was like ripples in a pond. Each person who signed a petition was encouraged to find a friend – that stimulated other signers and other volunteers – we reached out to social media, followers liked and shared – phone calls crisscrossed the district – then it steamrolled. We got signed petitions by masked drop-offs, mail, email, messenger, and text – everything but carrier pigeon!
Dave Carpenter at the Collier County Supervisor of Elections was a great help and was willing to accept submissions in the SOE parking lot – gloved and masked from 6 feet away! He had this to say: “This was a tremendous task due to the restrictions placed on all of us by the pandemic.”
Our candidate was worried for her volunteers, “…they were all so willing and passionate to help, I was constantly asking if they were using safe practices, and they were very patient with me – I’m very grateful to all of them. Qualifying by petition is as American as you can get – your neighbors are vouching for you!”