R-71 pins and needles

Today’s batch of R-71 data has been released. The total signatures examined is now 35,262 (about 25.6% of the total).

Today, there were 4,721 invalid signatures found that were rejected on the first pass. Some of these decisions may be reversed by the “Master Checker.” The preliminary invalid signatures include 4,110 that are not found in the voting rolls, 146 duplicates, and 465 that did not match the signature on file. There are also 101 signatures at various states of processing for a missing signature card.

If all 146 duplicates hold, there is a duplicate rate of about 1.56% for the petition. But some of the duplicates may be deemed valid signatures. What we know now is that 31,199 signatures have been accepted and 4063 rejected. We don’t know exactly what category each rejected signature is classified under, but the daily totals give us some idea. (See Dave Ammons post and the comment thread for more details about today’s surprising revelations from the SoS office.)

Using the best numbers available, I’ve run three different scenarios, making different assumptions about invalid and duplicated signatures. The raw numbers suggest 658 previously rejected signatures have been “saved” by the “Master Checker”. In all three scenarios, I first deduct the 465 from the total number of mismatched signatures (Ammons points out this is the most likely way a rejected signature is “saved”). The remaining 193 are deducted from duplicates and signers not found on the voter rolls (“not founds”) as follows:

  1. All 146 duplicates are assumed valid (yeah…this is pretty unrealistic), and deduct the remaining 47 from the “not founds”.
  2. All 193 come from the “not founds”.
  3. I split them, removing 97 from the “not founds” and 96 from the duplicates.

I use the V2* estimator to find the expected number of valid signatures. Here are the results:

  1. There are 121,824 valid signatures giving an excess of 1,247 signatures over the 120,577 needed to qualify for the ballot. The overall rejection rate is about 11.52%. This is a 0% duplicate rate.
  2. Now we expected 119,598 valid signatures, leaving a shortfall of 979 signatures to qualify. The overall rejection rate is about 13.14%. The duplicate rate for the petition of 1.62%.
  3. We expect 121,062 valid signatures, giving an excess of 485 signatures. The overall rejection rate is about 12.08%, and the duplicate rate for the petition is 0.55%.

The truth lies somewhere between scenario 2 and 3. As I found earlier today, the fate of R-71 depends almost entirely on the actual number of duplicates found. Until we get the real numbers, both proponents and opponents will be on pins and needles.


  1. 1

    watcher spews:


    What does this bill provide for? Who does it cover besides gays? Anyone? Why is it needed? Don’t we already have equal rights? Who’s for it and why?

    Try covering substance occasionally. Not just the microhorse race of the signatures….

  2. 3

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @1 I’m glad you don’t care that R-71 is failing, because it’s failing. Bigots and homophobes won’t get to vote for this piece of shit, and I’m glad.

  3. 4


    This is a mess. I think I’ll give my calculator a rest.

    My main concern is one that was posted on the SoS site: why is it that rejected signatures go through the “Master Checker”, but accepted signatures do not?

  4. 5

    watcher spews:

    I care that it’s failing, but I care more to want to be prepared if it’s on the ballot.

    Watching it fail and providing ultra anal math equations every 4 hours doesn’t achieve anything towards ensuring the measure is approved at the polls if it goes on the ballot, and I DO care about that. Winning at the polls is the job of every progressive and sitting around playing with math equations doesn’t advance that goal one inch.

    It’s the same complacency that we saw in California. Relying on it not making the ballot, in other words, is passive and defeatist and ultimately irresponsible.

    but hey if you love math minutiae more than actually working on ensuring equal rights, and if you feel entitled to take a rest and do nothing for a few weeks while the right is busy organizing, have at it bro’ and enjoy your barcalounger approach.

  5. 6

    Bently spews:

    Well, lots of people are preparing behind the scenes if the thing gets on the ballot, but what in the heck do you think this website can do until the numbers are in? In the meantime, some of us appreciate the work Darryl is doing in keeping us up to speed on the counting. If you don’t like it, don’t read it.

  6. 7

    Richard Pope spews:

    Signature mismatches are usually due to sloppy or changed handwriting, not due to forgeries. Voters who signed, and are administratively called mismatches, should be allowed the chance to verify that they really did sign it. If Sam Reed does not allow this, then the proponents of putting R-71 on the ballot will surely do this in court if they challenge the rejection of the petition.

    I would certainly prefer that R-71 not qualify for the ballot. At the same time, if a registered voter really does sign a petition, this should be honored and counted. Just like their vote should be counted. I just don’t believe that signature mismatches, whether they be on absentee ballots or initiative or referendum petitions, are generally forgeries.

  7. 8

    Richard Pope spews:

    Watcher @ 5

    Darryl loves his math and statistics. He is a pretty learned academic professor type and that is what he does. You may call his work minutiae, but this is his career. So don’t be knocking him too much over his repeated analyses.

  8. 9

    Richard Pope spews:

    I would think that not all of the 4,063 currently rejected signatures have been double checked. When all of them have been double checked, the number of rejections from the current universe of 35,262 examined signatures should be somewhat smaller than 4,063.

    If this is the case, then R-71 could very well qualify. Darryl’s best case scenario has R-71 falling only 979 signatures short, so reducing 4,063 to a smaller number would likely put R-71 over the top in valid signatures in any event.

  9. 10

    Lurleen spews:

    @ Bentey, it’s not the fiddling with the math that’s a problem, it’s being overly confident in saying the referendum will not qualify based on the results of equations that are build on bad assumptions. the result is that people listen to the voice of mathy authority instead of continue to prepare for the ballot. predictive math employed irresponsibly is a hazard to my civil rights.

  10. 11

    christophe spews:

    Election Officials Reverse R-71 Error Rate
    Update from The Stranger
    “After days of posting the number of invalid signatures for anti-gay Referendum 71, elections officials are retracting their counts, declaring that hundreds of signatures previously disqualified are actually valid.

    Last night, the secretary of state’s office office had reported that the cumulative error rate was over 13.5 percent. “The maximum error rate that they can withstand is 12.43 percent, so they are currently exceeding that,” spokesman David Ammons said. So it looked like R-71 was on a trajectory to fail to make the ballot.

    But now the secretary of state’s office is reporting that 11.63 percent of the signatures are invalid. At this rate, it could make the November ballot. So what happened?

    Shane Hanlin, an assistant director of election for the secretary of state’s office, says that so-called “master checkers” have been reviewing signatures over the past week. Even though daily counts have been announced (and widely reported by media), these checkers may not make a final decision on the validity of a signature until days later. They are authorized to consider the reason a signature was initially disqualified, check the state database, and move an “invalid” signature into the “valid” category. Hanlin says that the state’s five master checkers have taken this action on least 409 signatures.”

  11. 12

    Lurleen spews:

    In #10, I should have said “dubious assumptions”, not “bad assumptions”. Because my point is that although there is reason for concern over the assumptions, we don’t know whether the assumptions are good or not, so it is no more fair for me to call them bad as it is for anyone else to call them good or even reasonable.

    Darryl, if we could assume that the signatures checked so far were representative of the remainder, why is the SoS doing a complete check and not a sample?

  12. 13


    Darryl, this looks like a classic case of measurement error. The metric we were using (daily counts of accepted and rejected signatures) did not accurately measure the overall acceptance rate.

  13. 14



    “Darryl, if we could assume that the signatures checked so far were representative of the remainder, why is the SoS doing a complete check and not a sample?”

    Because they are required to by law.

    There is very little evidence to suggest that the signatures checked so far are not representative. But, we don’t really know what the correct numbers are. The SoS mislabeled what they were giving us.

  14. 15



    “Darryl, this looks like a classic case of measurement error. The metric we were using (daily counts of accepted and rejected signatures) did not accurately measure the overall acceptance rate.”

    I’d simply call it “bad data.” The SoS office gave us numbers of counted, accepted, and rejected ballots.

    Their numbers were wrong. They failed to mention that the rejected ballots were not actually rejected. They had only failed the first of a two-stage examination process.

  15. 16

    SeattleJew's Sockpuppet spews:

    SJ thinks that the time has come for a new “HA” style initiative.

    How much does it ocst to sijmply file an initiative?

    If that is a small amount, then the “trick” inb this era of the Internets ought to be coming uo with an issue that folks will sign onto … for fun!

    I have a few:

    Rename Washington to WASTATE so we will no longer be confused with DC. We do not want to be the state of WASTATE so we will become the Plantation of WASTATE.

    Outlaw use of Chocolate because of it cannabanoid content.

    Make all appointments as Cops elective.

    Rename the Columbia river the “Damned Salmon River.”

    Make “Fuck You” the official greeting used by polce officers when makng arrests.

    Add a 50% real estate surcharge for waterfront housing.

    Rename Mt Rainier, Puget Sound, to remove thier obscure Brit origins and secure revenue. Mt Microsoft and Starbucks Sound?

    Make the sasquatch our official state animal.

    … etc.

  16. 17

    doggril spews:

    Looks like some people believe progressives are incapable of multi-tasking, as if we can’t watch the count and prepare for the aftermath at the same time.
    In any case, it’s not like this is over, regardless of the outcome of the count. Because it’s going to be close, if the initiative comes up short, the lunatics are going to do what they always do: howl like two-year-olds. There will be a public tantrum that progressives will need to counter with the grown-up logic that seems to be exclusive to the Left.
    In the meantime, I appreciate the updated counts.