Transcribing or filling in a signature on behalf of a signer is never legal. In certain states, however, transcribing the printed name, address, zip code, county, date, etc. can be legal for certain kinds of petitions.
Transcribing is done by the circulator to improve efficiency and make signing petitions more accessible to signers. Transcribing allows the signer to sign and write all of their information on the first petition and simply sign their name on the remaining petitions, relying on the circulator to duplicate their information. It also allows the signer to verbally communicate their information, while the circulator writes it down in the appropriate spaces on the petition form.
Legality of transcription by state
States where transcribing is legal
- Arizona: Transcribing is, in general, allowed in Arizona. Arizona Senate Bill 1091, however, made it illegal to transcribe for initiative and referendum petitions.
- South Dakota: According to the state rules on the form of petitions, information on a petition form besides the signature itself may be filled in by the "signer or the circulator."
States without laws governing transcription
There are also a number of states that do not say whether or not it is legal to transcribe. Petition drive companies, in this case, generally decide not to allow circulators to transcribe just to be on the safe side.
- Laws governing ballot measures
- Petitions and petition drive companies
- Other petition related terms and definitions
- Arizona Senate Bill 1091 (2009)