Friday morning I wrote about why numbers matter, castigating my friends in the legacy media for failing to do their math. It was perhaps a nitpicky complaint in focusing on the R-71 signature count, but it was part of a larger pattern of failing to accurately and truthfully represent numbers in the press.
Early news reports claimed that R-71 would likely qualify for the ballot, despite the fact that the numbers, if you bothered to add, subtract, multiply and divide them, clearly said otherwise. As the sample expanded and the full effect of the duplication rate started to be reflected in the daily totals, comment threads started to fill with conspiracy theories about how the Secretary of State’s Office was jiggering the numbers to keep R-71 off the ballot. In my mind, shallow reporting led to misguided expectations that would ultimately further undermine public faith in the integrity of our electoral process.
But of course, all that was written before I learned that the numbers we were getting from the Secretary of State’s Office were total bullshit… a preliminary, half-cocked accounting that didn’t reflect that actual invalidation rate at all. On Friday afternoon I received a call from Darryl telling me that all the numbers had changed and all of our well reasoned conclusions could be tossed out the window. Oh, our equations were still valid, but with the SOS moving over 400 signatures from the bad to the good pile, they now produced dramatically different results.
And to complicate matters, after suddenly adjusting the totals a week into the validation process, the SOS failed to provide the all important breakout of duplicate signatures in the final result, leaving us unable to rerun our equations with the supposedly more accurate data. I mean… WTF?
From what I know (and at this point, I obviously don’t know much for certain), it still looks like R-71 will likely fail to qualify for the ballot, but that’s actually beside the point. We had just spent a week congratulating the SOS for their timely and helpful daily updates, and the speed at which they responded to public and media inquiries. And now we learn that the data they fed us was crap, which I guess would’ve been okay, if they had only warned us. So much for defending the integrity of the office.
Bullshit in, bullshit out, and all that.
I just thought the public deserved (and was getting) a little better.