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Candidates compete for signatures

Yawu Miller | 5/3/2017, 9:46 a.m.
Nomination papers were issued Tuesday for the 2017 mayoral and city council races and candidates wasted little time hitting the ...
Mayor Martin Walsh

Nomination papers were issued Tuesday for the 2017 mayoral and city council races and candidates wasted little time hitting the streets, some as solo acts, others with armies of volunteers to collect the signatures they will need to secure a spot on the Sept. 26 ballot.

In Dudley Square, Mayor Martin Walsh and mayoral challenger and District 7 City Councilor Tito Jackson stood no more than 15 yards apart each holding a clipboard with signatures.

Walsh, who told the Boston Herald Roxbury is an important base for his re-election effort, said he received a warm reception from the potential voters he greeted in Dudley Station.

“It’s great,” he said, pausing from gathering signatures and posing for selfies. “Almost everyone I’ve talked to said they’re voting for me.”

Yards away, Jackson explained

Tito Jackson

Tito Jackson

the nomination process to Dorchester resident Anthony Anderson.

“I just need your signature and your address, and it will allow me to appear on the ballot,” he said.

Mayoral candidates need 3,000 signatures of registered voters to appear on the ballot. While that threshold should not present much of an obstacle for Jackson or Walsh, both of whom have substantial organizations, collecting signatures can demonstrate the strength of a political organization. By 8 p.m., the Walsh campaign boasted 12,317 collected by several hundred volunteers in every ward in the city. Jackson, who did not provide a count, also had signature collectors across the city.

In addition to Jackson and Walsh, Roslindale antiviolence advocate Mary A. Franklin, Dorchester resident Donald M. Osgood Sr. and Christopher G. Womack are running for mayor.

As stiff as the competition for mayoral signatures was yesterday, the race to gather signatures for at-large and district council seats could be even more fierce. Although district councilors are required to submit just 200 signatures, because they’re competing for a limited pool of registered voters, and each voter can nominate only one candidate in the race, the 14 people who declared for the District 7 seat must race to submit signatures. If more than one candidate obtains signatures from the same voter, the first to submit the signature secures that nomination.

Many District 7 candidates were in Dudley Square, although many of the commuters who pass through the MBTA’s busiest bus terminal don’t live in the Roxbury-based district. Some candidates stuck to doors of registered voters.

“I’m really thankful to have a team of volunteers who were out with me, hitting the streets, knocking on doors and collecting signatures,” said District 7 candidate Kim Janey.

In addition to securing a spot on the ballot and flexing political muscle, the signature gathering serves another important purpose, notes Jackson campaign volunteer Ron Bell, who caught potential voters waiting for the 42 bus in Dudley Station.

“The importance of getting signatures is to identify voters and get them to the polls on September 26 and in November,” he said. “It’s not a sprint. It’s a marathon. We’re working around the clock.”