The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

Signature gatherers continue to ask for students’ information

Jasmine Antonio, 18-year-old biology major, signs a petition presented to her by circulator Paul Yosh near the Behavioral and Social Sciences Building on Wednesday, March 20. (Joshua Flores | The Union)

Signature collectors have been walking around the El Camino College campus and asking students for their personal information and their stances on ballot propositions.

While their numbers have dwindled since the California presidential primary on March 5, some collectors are still on campus soliciting information without being transparent with who they work for or who the information will be passed on to.

One signature gatherer on campus, Paul Yosh, said he worked for a company called APC America as a “circulator.”

Students had mixed reactions to the signature gatherers. Adam Rangel, a 20-year-old undecided major, said Yosh approached him.

Rangel said Yosh asked him questions about issues that would appear on the ballot. He said he did not know why he signed the petitions and just wanted to be nice.

Another student, Jasmine Antonio, a 18-year-old biology major, said she doesn’t mind signing if the petitions are for causes she supports.

“But at the same time, I didn’t appreciate that I was just asked… that [Yosh] just came out of nowhere and I was on the phone minding my own business,” Antonio said.

Antonio said Yosh came up to her asking about signing the petitions, but she wanted to read them first.

The measures included issues such as punishments and longer sentences for those who commit violent crimes, others were about Medi-Cal coverage.

“It was like a little bit of pressure, but I was like I do support [the measures]; but if I was in a rush, I would have been like, ‘Bye!’,” Antonio said.

Antonio and Rangel said they do not know where their information will be going, only that it has to do with ballot measures.

Yosh said a student’s information is needed to confirm if it is legitimate so it can be used by his employer to be passed on to the state.

Yosh said his company, APC America, does not sell signatories’ personal information.

Yosh refused to disclose his supervisor’s name or how to contact the company he works for, but said it is privately owned and campaigns on behalf of the state regarding propositions.

“APC America” yielded no results when looked up on the internet. Instead, the acronym “APC” was found to be associated with a California-based consultant firm, Arno Petition Consultants.

Arno Petition Consultants’ website says it is “the largest and most successful petition management firm in the country.”

It provides petition-gathering services, including ballot initiatives and state petition drives for political candidates and parties.

APC is owned and founded by Michael Arno, who owns and co-founded Virginia-based consulting firm Capital Advisors which provides the same services.

Both companies advertise themselves as being able to help political candidates and parties earn a place on state ballots.

Yosh, who is from Hawaiian Gardens, said his company picks where petitioners go depending on the region and city.

He also claims they are not just at El Camino, but also go to other schools and places like grocery stores to gather signatures.

Yosh said he submits the information he gathered once or twice a week to his employer.

Antonio said petition gatherers should have a designated area on campus so as not to disrupt students’ activities.

“Let’s say if you’re trying to get to class and they just randomly pop up and start distracting you or they’re all like pushing in your face, I feel that’s something not positive for the student,” Antonio said.

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