There are two types of files that you will need to upload in order to check sheets. The first is your voter data, the second is your petition sheets.
Your voter data lists the voters in your district and can come from any number of sources. There are plenty of services that will offer you access to voter lists for a fee. You can also FOIA your own data from either your state or local election commission. We are happy to help you get your voter data if you don’t have it already.
When you upload your data into our database, you need to use the template we provide. It’s a .csv file, and the columns are organized in a way that will make it easy for our system to parse. We’ve provided a template that you can download and then copy your data into.
You need to include a voter_reg_num – this is whatever number you or your voter software is using to uniquely identify a voter. You also need to include names, addresses, cities and counties.
If you live in a large city that breaks up the city into city council districts, you can provide that in the WRD column (in Chicago, we call those Wards). If you have access to your voter’s precinct number, you can also add that as well in the PCT column. This information, as well Legislative or Representative district is not necessary. You do not have to have it to check your petitions. However, it may be useful if you decide to use our Walk Sheet reports to help gather your signatures.
Petition sheets are uploaded as pdf files. Because there are size limits on the files you can upload, there is a 25-sheet limit at a time.
Sheets that you upload to Petition Atlas should have a sheet number on them. However, we know that there are a lot of reasons you may not want to number your original sheets before you scan them in for checking. It’s possible, for example, that you may find a sheet while you are checking that you want to throw out – but if that sheet is already numbered, you would have to find another unnumbered sheet to replace it.
However, to keep your sheets in order, and for you to go back and review sheets that have already been checked, we need to have a numbering system.
What we recommend is for you to make a copy of your petition sheets before you scan them in (in fact, we recommend making copies of your sheets as soon as they are notarized, and then locking the originals in a fire proof safe). The copies can be in the same order as the originals, and you can feel free to number them.
Another option is to go ahead and number your originals but keep a few unnumbered sheets at the end in case you need them. If you need help figuring out how to manage your petitions once you get started, and what the rules are in your state about how to handle your sheets, we can help. Just reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.