Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Referendum 71 invalid rate going up; chances of making the ballot going down

Secretary of State Sam Reed's office is continuing to report on the progress of signature verification efforts on Referendum 71, the religious right's scheme to force a public vote on the recently expanded domestic partnerships law.

As of yesterday, about eleven thousand signatures had been checked, for a cumulative invalid rate of 12.31 percent. Considering that the invalid rate on the first day of checking, last Friday, was only 11.34 percent, this is good news.

It doesn't mean we're out of the woods yet (especially since signatures are not being checked randomly) but the data we're getting suggests that the mathematical odds are in our favor. Here's a breakdown from yesterday:
Due to popular demand — the breakouts! yesterday’s number of signatures checked was 5,856, with 5,096 accepted and 760 rejected. there were 16 dupes, 40 no match of petition signature with what’s on file, 682 not found on voter registration database, 22 listed on the database as registered voters but missing a signature on the database and we’re checking back with the counties.

the cumulatives as of close of biz yesterday: 11,502 checked, 10,087 accepted, 1,415 rejected, including 23 dupes, 81 no match, 1,274 not registered voters, 37 missing signature and we’re checking.

Some of the final category, missing signature on the state database, can be shifted over the the accepted pile once we hear back from the counties involved.
For a signature to be accepted, the name of the voter next to it has to to first correspond to an entry in the voter rolls. If it doesn't, it's a Not Found. Next, the signature on the petition has to match the signature on file. If it doesn't, it's a No Match. If there is no signature to compare, it's a Missing. Those are all of the "invalid" categories.

Duplicates, of course, happen when people sign a petition more than once. The low number of duplicates found so far suggests that petitioners did a decent job of reminding people that they can only sign once.

What's tripping them up is that a sizable percentage of people they conned into signing petitions were not registered to vote.

It used to be that the Secretary of State would have to haul boxes and boxes of voter registration cards and filing cabinets to a large airy building, like a gym, and verify by hand, a time consuming process. Now it's done with computers in the basement of the Elections Division. I had an opportunity to witness the process as an observer back in 2006, when I monitored the verification of signatures for Tim Eyman's Initiative 917. (I-917 ultimately failed to qualify for the ballot).

So while I'm not ready to declare victory yet, I think it's the other guys who need to be on pins and needles. Their chances of making the ballot don't look so hot.


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