The signature check for Washington’s Referendum 71 is near the halfway mark, with over 65,000 petition signatures now tallied .
According to a fresh post at the end of the day shift Monday, election crews and master checkers have completed their work on about 289 of the 623 petition batches – bound volumes of 15 petitions, each bearing between 1 and 20 signatures.
The total now checked, 65,531, is more than 7,000 above the Friday evening report, and approaches halfway to the full check of the 137,689 signatures that R-71 sponsors submitted on July 25. Sponsors are trying to force a statewide vote on the Legislature’s new “everything but marriage act,” Senate Bill 5688, that gives state-registered domestic partners the same state rights and responsibilities that married couples have.
The new tally shows 58,306 signatures accepted – they need 120,577 valid Washington voter signatures to qualify – and 7,225 rejected (6,165 because the person wasn’t found on the state voter database, 24 where a digital signature is needed from the voter’s home county in order to compare with the signature on the petition, 566 where the signer’s signature did not match the one on file, and 470 duplicates.)
Overall, the error rate is currently 11.03 percent, considerably lower than the 20-year average of about 18.5 percent, and still below the maximum error rate the sponsors can absorb, about 12.4 percent. Some have speculated that the measure is headed to the ballot, but the state Elections Division continues to withhold a conclusion. All signatures are being checked, using double shifts, rather than random sampling, since the sponsors’ pad is so small.