At the end of work yesterday just over 17% of the 137,689 submitted signatures had been checked by the Secretary of State, and the invalid rate has reached a new high of 13.31%. For Referendum 71 to make it on the ballot, petitioners need to maintain the invalid signature rate at 12.428% or lower.
Each day since the signature check began we've taken the statistics from the signature checking process and looked at a set of "what-if" scenarios - what if the current trend holds, what if the invalid rate declines by 10%, and while 17% is a long way from the a full check, the current trends are very hopeful.
And while we wait and watch day by day as the numbers roll in, we need to recognize that it isn't just the invalid signatures that the Secretary of State is looking for that we need to be concerned about. It's also the signatures that the Secretary of State isn't looking for - the signatures of voters who were misled into signing Referendum 71 by signature gatherers for whom the ends, or the money, justified the means.
While there is no official process to measure the extent of signature fraud, WhoSigned.org hasn't forgotten the reports of fraudulent signature gathering practices and voters appalled that they'd been tricked into signing a petition that hurt themselves or the families of people they know.
We appreciate the diligent signature checking work of the Elections Division, and will add to their efforts by making petition information accessible for self-checking and reporting by the public.
When the Referendum 71 records are released, we'll work to discover the hidden impact of signature fraud and share what we find with Ref. 71 petitioners and the public. With fundamental rights at stake, now and in the future, we need public oversight and awareness of the threat that paid signature gathering poses to the integrity of the ballot initiative and referendum process.