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R-71: Checkers scrutinize another 6,140 signatures

by David Ammons | August 6th, 2009

State Election workers processed another 6,140 petition signatures for Referendum 71 Wednesday, the attempt by Protect Marriage Washington to secure a statewide vote this fall on the “everything but marriage” law expanding rights and responsibilities for state-registered domestic partners.  Checkers rejected 872 signatures for various reasons, for a daily error rate of 14.2 percent.

By the numbers:  The error rate was similar to the 14.4 percent the previous day.  Overall, 23,457 signatures have been processed, with a cumulative error rate of 13.31 percent.  Sponsors need to get 120,577 of their signatures declared valid in order to secure a ballot spot. They turned in 137,689 signatures back on July 25. That is 14.2 percent above the bare minimum.  With their 17,112 extra signatures, they could sustain and overall error rate of 12.42 percent.

The new day’s check, the fourth day of processing by about 20 checkers, showed 6,140 checked, 5,268 accepted and 872 rejected. Of the latter, 23 were duplicate signatures, 71 had no match between the petition signature and the signature on file with the state voter registration database, 758 did not show up on the database as registered voters, and 20 people were at least temporarily not counted because the database didn’t include a signature that could be used for checking. All or most of the latter category could be eventually shifted over to the “accepted” stack when their home counties report back with a legible signature.

Overall, 23,457 names have been checked, 20,335 accepted and 3,122 rejected, for a total error rate of 13.31 percent so far. There have been a total of 68 duplicates, 221 no-match, 2,764 non-voters, and 69 missing a checkable voter-registration signature.

Shane Hamlin, assistant state elections director in charge of the referendum operation, announced that a second shift of checkers will be brought on, beginning Thursday, so the checking can be accelerated.  The day shift will work from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the swing shift will work from 3:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.  With the new workforce, the Elections Division now is hoping to wrap up the full-signature check by sometime the week of August 17. 

Hamlin also says the daily update will be available on the R-71 homepage at www.vote.wa.gov starting mid-day Thursday.

8 Responses to “R-71: Checkers scrutinize another 6,140 signatures”

  1. Paul Johns says:

    Kudos to the Secretary of State’s office for these TWICE daily updates and for adding a second shift.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. Thanks for providing such thorough information and in such a timely manner.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if all of government were as responsive and informative as the Washington Secretary of State’s office?

  3. I’d like to add my thanks to the way the Secretary of State’s office is handling this. Whatever the final outcome, it will be difficult, if not impossible, for the losing side to complain.

  4. David Johnson says:

    Secretary Reed deserves a lot of praise for the way he manages his office.

    He should be asked to conduct seminars with other WA government agencies to teach them how to use the internet intelligently in order to make government open and responsive.

  5. Jeffrey Stotsky says:

    I can only see the percentage of “not accepted” increasing. The reason I say this is because it took them quite a while to get to 75,000 and they managed to get the other 62,000 signatures pretty quickly.

  6. Paul, Timothy, Jim and David –thanks very much for the generous comments about our efforts to provide speedy info on this drawn-out checking process and to get answers to questions. This “conversation” is really possible with our new social media, and having a blog. No mediation or delay is necessary in this 24-hour news environment. And it is very. very cool to “talk” with real people, rather than a one-way communication from the Capitol. I imagine it gets pretty easy for government folks to see the customers-taxpayers-citizens as abstractions rather than real people with real questions and opinions. “From Our Corner” doesn’t take the place of mainstream media, but is a new platform. Twitter and an amazing website, including our new R-71 page, are among the other resources.

  7. Very thankful to WA Sec’y of State and their volunteers/employees for the hard work on this. Regardless of poitical alignment, its a hard job, and the Sec’y’s office is doing everything to bring this part of the government into the open, for which I am very appreciative.

  8. thanks, Kevin. I’m told that this is the most attention a referendum-initiative checking process has ever gotten in this state. FYI, i’ll be blogging in a little while on the fresh results from the day shift, then in the morning, i’ll update with the rest of the Thursday checking — including those that are checked during the shift that goes until 10 p.m. tonite — tomorrow morning by 9 a.m.

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