Referendum checkers, beefing up their efforts to determine whether R-71 gets a place on the statewide ballot, have processed another 3,831 signatures, bringing the total to over 27,000 checked so far. The latest daily count reflected an rejection rate approaching 15 percent.
The state Election Division crew rejected 573 signatures, mostly because the signers weren’t registered Washington voters, for a daily error rate of 14.96 percent. That was the highest daily error rate recorded in the first five days of signature-verification, and brought the cumulative error rate to 13.54 percent. That is somewhat above the 12.42 percent rate the sponsors will be able to absorb, once all signatures are counted. The Secretary of State’s Office has also used a 14.2 percent number to express the excess number of signatures, 17,112, that sponsors submitted, but the lower error rate number is the one to watch. And this number: 120,577. That’s the number of valid Washington voter signatures that are required to get on the ballot.
The referendum represents the effort by the socially conservative campaign group called Protect Marriage Washington to gain a November ballot spot for a public vote on Senate Bill 5688, the newly adopted “everything but marriage” law that expands the rights and responsibilities of couples who are registered with the Secretary of State’s domestic partnership registry. That law is on hold while the referendum question is being decided.
The Elections Division on Thursday beefed up their signature-checking process by adding a second shift of workers. Updated numbers covering the 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. checks will be posted Friday morning. Friday numbers will be posted here and on the R-71 homepage Friday evening and updated Monday morning.
A recap: As of late Thursday afternoon, the day’s count stood at 3,831 new signatures processed, with 3,258 of them accepted and 573 rejected — 462 because they aren’t on the state list of voters, 22 because the signature appears on petitions more than once, 74 because the signature doesn’t match the sginature on file, and 15 pending county confirmation with a signature that can be matched with the petition signature. The latter category probably will be shifted to the “accepted” pile once the counties respond.
Grand totals so far: 27,288 checked, with 23,593 and 3,695 rejected — 3,226 for being a nonvoter, 90 duplicates, 295 for signature not matching and 84 pending county confirmation.