Donnie Dawson profile

Donnie Dawson

Petitioner/signature gatherer

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Dawson has worked on ballot measures and other political canvassing since 1992, tackling casinos, collective bargaining and voting rights. He’s also worked on the presidential campaigns of Bill Clinton, John Kerry and Barack Obama. “This is my career: political activist,” he said. “I’ll do anything as long as it’s progressive.”

He is currently working to gather signatures to legalize marijuana in Ohio. “It’s something close to my heart,” said the 42-year-old, who said he was jailed in 1997 after police found marijuana seeds and stems on the floor of his car. “It’s still on my record.”

Dawson would not say how much he is paid, but his employer, Ian James, said he pays petitioners $9.50 an hour, with the chance to make up to $15 per hour for high numbers of valid signatures.