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Side effects from today’s election are likely to include: heartburn, sweats, and irritability among incumbents in danger of losing their jobs; unrealistic bursts of optimism from several challengers; and a good barometer of whether the petition drive to end corporate giving in local political races will be successful.

Organizers of the anti-corporate giving push, known as Ballot Initiative 70, are counting on today for a huge boost in their effort to collect at least 23,000 valid signatures from registered voters to put the issue of corporate giving on the November ballot. They still have a few more months to get all those signatures, but today is their best chance to get the lion’s share over and done with.

Organizers Bryan Weaver and Jerry Clark (pictured above at a Ward 1 voting station at Goodwill Baptist Church) say today’s goal was somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000 signatures, and they have about 200 volunteers out circulating petitions at some of the most historically active voting precincts. (Ward 7 ANC commissioner Sylvia Brown is another sponsor of the initiative.)

Earlier this morning, Clark and Weaver were joined by Jim Dean, brother of former DNC Chairman Howard Dean, at a couple polling places trying to support the cause. LL watched the pair nab a few signatures today around noon. They didn’t have to give a hard sell, or any real sell at all, to get people to sign.

But there weren’t that many people out to give the soft sell to, and reports on the Twitter seem to indicate it’s a low-turnout affair citywide.  That’s not unexpected for a primary in April, and it’s still early in the day. But a really, really low turnout could put a big dent in the good government group’s efforts to ban corporate donations. After all: You can’t get signatures from voters who stay home.

Photo by Alan Suderman