by David Ammons | August 20th, 2009
Signature checkers for the state Elections Division have scrutinized almost 9,000 new Referendum 71 signatures, bringing the cumulative check total to over 88,000.
Over 77,000 signatures have been accepted and more than 10,000 rejected on various grounds, bringing the error rate so far to just under 12 percent.
The daily update showed these cumulative totals: 88,191 checked, with 77,637 accepted and 10,554 rejected. Sponsors, Protect Marriage Washington, need 120,577 valid Washington voter signatures if they are to gain a November statewide ballot spot. They are attempting to overturn the newly adopted “everything but marriage” law that expands state rights and responsibilities to state-registered domestic partners so that they equal those granted to married couples.
The rejection rate is 11.97 percent. Sponsors can sustain an overall error rate of no more than 12.4 percent if they wish to make the ballot. The error rate has been edging up, as traditionally occurs with initiatives and referenda as the duplicate signature rate rises. Thus far, 867 signatures have been rejected as duplicate or triplicate. At the same time, checkers are taking a new look at the signatures that were previously rejected because they weren’t found on the state voter database. Master checkers are reviewing to see if some of those people were newly registered and not on the version of the database the checkers were using.
The rejections thus far include 8,822 people whose registrations were not found, 821 whose petition signature did not match the one on file, 887 duplicates and 44 cases where checkers have asked the voter’s home county for an electronic signature that can be compared with the signature on the petition.
The checkers have now look at about 400 “volumes” or batches of 15 petition sheets, each bearing between 1 and 20 signatures. There are 623 volumes total.