I’ve yet to see the exact numbers, and they don’t appear to be available online, but word is that King County Elections has reviewed about 4,000 of the approximately 19,500 signatures Forward Seattle submitted on their anti-$15 minimum wage petitions, and validated only 75 percent on the first pass. That’s far short of the 84.6 percent rate necessary to produce the 16,500 valid signatures required to qualify a referendum for the ballot.
I’ve no idea if those first 4,000 signatures were a random sample or a contiguous batch of petition sheets, but either way it’s bad news for Forward Seattle, which would now need an 87.1 percent validation rate on the remaining signatures to meet the threshold. That’s not impossible; all of the rates posted above are within the range of past experience. But 87.1 percent would be more of an optimistic outlier than the norm.
And that’s before considering the “hundreds” of signature withdrawals Working Washington tells me they collected.
Considering the lengths Forward Seattle had to go to generate signatures—you know, lying to voters about their petition—a 75 percent validation rate would not be surprising. It takes low standards to run a signature drive this way, and those low standards almost guarantee a degree of sloppiness and cheating.
In other words, you get what you pay for. A maxim the business owners funding Forward Seattle might want to take to heart in reconsidering how they compensate their own low wage workers.