This afternoon, the Secretary of State’s office released R-71 data in a brand new format. Apparently, the data now reflect the actual numbers of duplicates, rejected signatures, and accepted signatures.
There are some noticable differences over the previous data releases. As David Ammons explains it:
The error rate is lower than the daily and cumulative numbers that had been previously reported, because the earlier numbers included many signatures that still were being reviewed by master checkers. A prime example is that hundreds of signatures were not initially found on voter rolls by the checker, but a later check by the veteran master checkers did make a match.
He also points out:
State Elections Director Nick Handy said it remains “too close to call” whether R-71 will make the ballot, and cautioned against making assumptions based on the current error rate.
Handy is incorrect in one respect. Given a proper statistical estimate of the duplicate error rate in the total sample, and a proper projection of the other invalid signatures, we can estimate a total number of valid signatures and offer some statistical certainty about the number. (Of course, this assumes we are given the correct numbers in the first place….)
The statistical certainty only accounts for the fact that we have only a sample of the total petition evaluated so far. It cannot account for non-sampling error, biases, correlations among batches of pages, etc. Of course such error may be ignorable. I’ll get back to that issue in a later post.
The total number of signatures that have been completed is 33,214, which is just under a quarter of the total petition. There have been 3,450 invalid signatures found, for an uncorrected rejection rate of 10.39%. This rate doesn’t mean much because it doesn’t include the rate of duplicate signatures in the total petition.
The invalid signatures include 3,117 that were not found in the voting rolls, 130 duplicates, and 203 that did not match the signature on file. There are also 12 pending signatures in which a better signature card is needed. (Oddly enough, the data table includes the 12 pending signatures in the rejected totals; I suspect this is an error, albiet a minor one).
The 130 duplicated signatures from a sample of 33,314 suggests a duplication rate on the entire petition of about 1.62%.
V2 V estimator, the number of valid signatures is expected to be 121,103, thus squeaking by with 526 signature over the 120,577 needed to qualify for the ballot. (The sampling error is many times smaller than the 526 margin.) The expected total rejection rate is 12.05%.
The bottom line: Unless new errors are found in the processing or counting, or some large, systematic increase in the error rate is seen for the remaining 76% of the signatures, we should expect to see R-71 on the ballot this fall.
Update: I just noticed I used the V estimator, not the V2 estimator. The V estimator is slightly biased toward too few valid signatures, so the qualitative results are the same.