It’s clipboard season in Newton, that time of year when incumbents and challengers take to the streets, village days and supermarkets across Newton in search of registered voters so they can appear on the fall municipal election ballot.

Candidates for mayor need 400 signatures. At large city council and school committee candidates need 150 signatures. Ward council candidates need a mere 50 signatures to be on the ballot.  I believe the city clerk’s office recommends getting about 10 percent more signatures than required in case some are disqualified or illegible.

Nomination papers aren’t due until Aug. 8.

Now perhaps this doesn’t bother anyone but me, but I’ve always found it mildly annoying when someone stops me with an armful of clipboards and asks if I would sign nomination papers for a several different candidates.

This year I’m going to decline. I’ve decided that if someone really wants to hold public office, they should be able to get collect their own signatures.  Collecting signatures shouldn’t just be a formality, it should be a chance for a human interaction with a constituent.  And that’s especially important for incumbents who aren’t likely to even face an opponent this year.

So please candidates, collect your own signatures.

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