Background of Petition Circulators on Ballot Initiatives:
There are 24 states in the U.S. that allow citizens to put proposals for government action to a referendum. Such proposals are referred to as a ballot initiative. While many groups use the ballot initiative process as a vehicle to mobilize citizens to support or oppose a change in legislation, almost no ballot initiative can make the ballot without the help of paid petition circulators. States that allow citizens to petition the government have a separate distinction for paid circulators. More than half of the 24 I & R (Initiative and Referendum) states require that the circulator be registered to vote in the state in which they are circulating an initiative.  Many paid circulators travel from state to state, operating out of hotels.
The Cost of Invalid Names
The Reform Party's 2000 Scare
In October 2003 the East Valley Tribunein Arizona reported that Lee "reigns as king" of the petition industry in Arizona. Derrick Lee was responsible for the Reform Party almost not making it onto the presidential ballot in 2000. In the article, Kirsten Searer and Mark Flatten wrote "Signature checking by the Maricopa County Recorder's Office showed that less than half of the signatures turned in were valid." After agreeing to a second cut-rate contract, Lee delivered sufficient signatures for the Party to be included on the ballot. "Derrick Lee hires the unhireables," said John Gilbert, the vice-chairman of the state Reform Party told Searer and Flatten. "He does not have a lot of high-end people. And it's not surprising that he got a couple of people who simply tried to run a scam on him. He was very embarrassed about it and not at all pleased with the whole situation." 
Lee stated that the high invalid rate was a result of petitions that an internal check indiacted as having a high invalid rate had been mistakenly submitted. While other petition companies have multiple checkers, Lee stated that "The person that I was paying to validate my signatures never validated them" and that he was out of town at the time. "That cost her her job. She told me she'd checked the signatures and they had obviously never been checked."
Searer and Flatten also reported that the Pinal County Deputies Association had hired Lee's company to collect the 1,246 signatures needed to recall an Apache Junction justice of the peace. However, checking by county officials revealed that "only about 12 percent of the signatures were valid. The recall failed and Apache Junction police unsuccessfully pursued a Phoenix homeless man for forgery. Lee walked away without charges, even though one of the petitions included the forged signature of a woman who had died nine months before the petitions were signed." Lee repaid the cost of the contract. 
Lee said that the problems with the two petitions were the result of "stupid mistakes." They also reported that "Lee's company also is at the center of many of the major controversies that have arisen in petition drives in recent years. Four of the five paid petition circulators who have been prosecuted for fraud and forgery since 1997 were working for Lee at the time they committed their crimes, according to court records."
- Kirsten Searer and Mark Flatten, "The petition industry operates with few rules and many controversies", East Valley Tribune, October 15, 2003.
- National Conference of State Legislatures, Laws Governing Petition Circulators", August 29, 2006.