Imagine that you're running a group called Ohioans for Humane Farms. You're (not-so-secretly) controlled by the Humane Society of the United States. And your goal in life is to get a question on the November ballot that would invalidate last year's election, when Ohioans vested control of animal agriculture standards in a 13-person board that just started meeting a few days ago.

Now imagine that your volunteer efforts to gather 402,275 signatures of Ohioans by June 29 are way behind schedule. You started canvassing back on March 10, which means that almost half of your signature-gathering time has already passed. It's April 27, and you've collected barely 115,000 signatures. And you'll probably need 600,000 to reach your goal, since so many of yours will read "Wilbur," "Mickey Mouse," and "Kermit the Frog."

What do you do?

If you're following the typical HSUS playbook, you hire professional signature gatherers. That's how the animal rights group got California's "Proposition 2" over the top. (So much for those boasts of having “11 million constituents.” Hardly any of them show up when it counts.) And the activist who ran signature-gathering for HSUS in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2008 conveniently moved to Cleveland a few weeks ago.

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