Category Archives: California

Report #16 on the Six Californias Signature Verification Process

Five(!) counties reported their random sampling results Tuesday: El Dorado (validity rate 76.8%), Glenn (70.1%), Humboldt (60.3%), Lassen (65.9%), and Nevada (72.7%). In addition, El Dorado reported eight fewer signatures in their raw count than they had initially, and Nevada County reported an additional signature, bringing the total raw count down slightly to 1,137,797. The overall validity rate is up slightly to 67.58% (was 67.48%, for a projected valid signature count of 768,923, a comfortable 1,688 more than needed to qualify for a full count.

Seven counties still have to complete their random sampling. They are (in order of the number of raw signatures they reported) Los Angeles (311,924 raw signatures), Fresno (38,382), Tuolumne (4,732), Mariposa (945), Trinity (779), Inyo (616), and San Benito (350). Los Angeles and Fresno have to check 3% of their signatures, and San Benito has to check all 350; the others have to check 500 (unless they want to check them all). I hope we don’t have to wait until Friday for them all to report.

My feeling is much of it boils down to Los Angeles. While I don’t think Los Angeles by itself will put them over the number they need to qualify for a full count (for that it would have to have a remarkably high 77.0% or better validity rate), it could make it mathematically impossible for the rest of the counties to put them over. That is, if the validity rate from Los Angeles ends up less than about 62.3%, then even if the other counties had 100% valid signatures Six Californias would not qualify for a full count and would not make it to the ballot. (At this point it is mathematically impossible for Six Californias to qualify for the ballot based on random sampling alone, even if Los Angeles had a 100% projected validity rate.)

I note that only three counties had a validity rate of 77.0% or greater. On the other hand, thirteen counties had a validity rate of 62.3% or lower. It’s likely that Los Angeles will have a validity rate somewhere in between those extremes, meaning we’ll need reports from at least Fresno and Tuolumne counties, if not all of them, to learn if Six Californias will get a full count.

–Steve Chessin

President, Californians for Electoral Reform (CfER)

www.cfer.org

The opinions expressed here are my own and not necessarily those of CfER.

Report #15 on the Six Californias Signature Verification Process

Two more counties reported their random sampling results Monday: San Luis Obispo (validity rate 60.2%) and Yuba (57.2%). (San Luis Obispo County also found another raw signature, bringing the total raw count to 1,137,804.) The overall validity rate is down slightly to 67.48% (was 67.6%, for a projected valid signature count of 767,790, just 555 more than needed to qualify for a full count. (I had been rounding the overall validity rate to three significant digits, but as Six Californias is so close to the threshold I’ll begin reporting it to four significant digits as the Secretary of State does.)

Twelve counties still have to complete their random sampling, which by law they must do by Friday. They are (in order of the number of raw signatures they reported) Los Angeles (311,924 raw signatures), Fresno (38,382), El Dorado (11,649), Humboldt (7,230), Tuolumne (4,732), Nevada (4,322), Lassen (2,066), Glenn (1,910), Mariposa (945), Trinity (779), Inyo (616), and San Benito (350). Los Angeles and Fresno have to check 3% of their signatures, and San Benito has to check all 350; the others have to check 500 (unless they want to check them all).

Given how close to the threshold for a full count Six Californias is, if the smaller counties were hoping Six Californias would either qualify or fail to qualify without their numbers, so they could skip verifying signatures, they might have have to re-think that position. If I were them, and depending on how long it takes their offices to verify a signature, I wouldn’t wait until Friday morning to start verifying.

Updated September 9th: I had a typo in the raw count number in the first paragraph in the original version of this report. I had written 1,137,904 when it was 1,137,804. It is corrected above. The projected valid signature computation was made with the correct value.

–Steve Chessin

President, Californians for Electoral Reform (CfER)

www.cfer.org

The opinions expressed here are my own and not necessarily those of CfER.

Report #14 on the Six Californias Signature Verification Process

Two more counties have finished their random sampling, according to today’s update from the Secretary of State’s office: one large (Orange County, with a validity rate of 67.9%), and one small (Amador County, 68.1%). The overall validity rate is unchanged at 67.6%, so with 769,154 projected valid signatures, Six Californias may be headed for a full count.

Fourteen counties still have to complete their random sampling, which by law they must do by next Friday. With Orange County having reported, the top ten (by the number of raw signatures they reported) are now Los Angeles (311,924 raw signatures), Fresno (38,382), San Luis Obispo (12,906), El Dorado (11,649), Humboldt (7,230), Tuolumne (4,732), Nevada (4,322), Yuba (3,720), Lassen (2,066), and Glenn (1,910). The top two have to check 3% of their signatures; the others have to check 500 (unless they want to check them all).

–Steve Chessin

President, Californians for Electoral Reform (CfER)

www.cfer.org

The opinions expressed here are my own and not necessarily those of CfER.

Report #13 on the Six Californias Signature Verification Process

Two more counties have completed their random sampling according to today’s update from the Secretary of State’s office; one large (Riverside, with a validity rate of 73.3%), and one small (Santa Cruz, with a validity rate of 60.1%). I note that Riverside has a very high validity rate for a large county (74,478 raw signatures). No county with more raw signatures has a validity rate higher than 69.5%. (Of course, we still have to hear from Los Angeles County.) The largest county with a validity rate higher than 73.3% is Ventura (27,134 raw signatures, validity rate 82.2%).

The overall validity rate is 67.6%, up somewhat from the 67.0% validity rate in my previous report. That gives a projected valid signature count of 769,154 signatures, up sufficiently from the 762,328 in that previous report for Six Californias to qualify for a full count. This bodes well for Six Californias as long as the remaining counties average roughly a 67.3% or better validity count.

Sixteen counties still have to complete their random sampling. (According to the Secretary of State, they have to complete the process by September 12th, a week from this Friday.) The top ten (by the number of raw signatures they reported) are now Los Angeles (311,924 raw signatures), Orange (52,217), Fresno (38,382), San Luis Obispo (12,906), El Dorado (11,649), Humboldt (7,230), Tuolumne (4,732), Nevada (4,322), Yuba (3,720), and Lassen (2,066). The top three have to check 3% of their signatures; the others have to check 500 (unless they want to check them all).

(Note that I had made a mistake in Report #11, carried over in Report #12, where I had included Kern county in the list of uncompleted counties even though they had completed their random sampling. I have corrected those previous reports and triple-checked the list in this report.)

–Steve Chessin

President, Californians for Electoral Reform (CfER)

www.cfer.org

The opinions expressed here are my own and not necessarily those of CfER.

Report #12 on the Six Californias Signature Verification Process

Thursday’s update included completed random samples from three more counties: Alameda (validity rate 67.6%), Calaveras (73.2%), and Tehama (66.9%). The overall validity rate is up slightly, from 66.9% to 67.0%, for a projected total valid signature count of 762,328 (up from 761,190 in my previous report), still not enough to qualify for a full count. That requires 767,235 projected valid signatures.

Eighteen counties still have to complete their random sampling. The top ten (by the number of raw signatures they reported) are now Los Angeles (311,924 raw signatures), Riverside (74,478), Orange (52,217), Fresno (38,382), San Luis Obispo (12,906), El Dorado (11,649), Humboldt (7,230), Tuolumne (4,732), Nevada (4,322), and Santa Cruz (3,742).

Jim Riley posted an interesting comment to Report #11. One of his points is (I think) that the estimate of duplicates has a wide variance, and this can cause an initiative to fail to qualify based on the sampling when a full count would show that it had sufficient signatures. It might be interesting to look at the qualification rules used by other states that have the initiative.

Updated September 3rd: I made a mistake in Report #11 (since fixed) where I counted Kern County in the top 10 unfinished counties when it had actually completed its random sampling. That mistake was carried over into the original version of this report. I have fixed it above by removing Kern and adding Santa Cruz.

–Steve Chessin

President, Californians for Electoral Reform (CfER)

www.cfer.org

The opinions expressed here are my own and not necessarily those of CfER.

Report #11 on the Six Californias Signature Verification Process

Good news! Tuesday’s random sample update includes raw signature counts from Amador and Trinity counties! Amador reports 1,750 raw signatures, and Trinity reports 779 raw signatures. That would have brought the total raw signature count to 1,137,875, except that Kern County, which finished its sampling, reduced its raw count from 26,444 to 26,422, and Humboldt County, which hasn’t finished its sampling, reduced its raw count from 7,280 to 7,230. That brings the total raw signature count to 1,137,803. (I was going to say “final total raw signature count”, except as we have seen a county might change its report of raw signatures when it completes its sampling.)

In addition to Kern (validity rate of 74.9%), three other counties have also completed their random sampling. They are San Bernardino (61.4%), San Mateo (68.0%), and Siskiyou (71.2%). That brings the overall validity rate to 66.9%, down from the 67.5% in my previous report, and gives an overall estimate of 761,190 raw signatures, well below the 767,235 needed to qualify for a full count.

There are still 21 counties that need to finish their sampling (including Amador and Trinity). With both San Bernardino (it had been ranked second) and Kern (it had been ranked seventh) having reported, the top ten are now Los Angeles (311,924 raw signatures), Riverside (74,478), Orange (52,217), Alameda (51,366), Fresno (38,382), San Luis Obispo (12,906), El Dorado (11,649), Humboldt (7,230), Tehama (4,855), and Toulomne (4,732).

Updated September 3rd: In my original posting I listed Kern in the top ten unreported counties even though it had finished. I have corrected that above by removing Kern and adding Toulomne.

–Steve Chessin

President, Californians for Electoral Reform (CfER)

www.cfer.org

The opinions expressed here are my own and not necessarily those of CfER.

Reports #8, #9, and #10 on the Six Californias Signature Verification Process

I apologize for getting behind; between my day job, family, and unrelated political activity I haven’t been able to post any reports since my previous report until today. So this is three reports in one.

The random sample update for Monday, August 18th, was released after hours; it had a time-stamp of 5:32pm. It reported completed random samplings from the following counties: Lake (65.8% valid), Marin (76.9%), Monterey (71.9%), Santa Clara (65.6%), Stanislaus (71.9%), Tulare (72.0%), and Ventura (82.2%). In addition, the date when Inyo County reported their raw count of 616 signatures was changed from 11 August to 6 August. That correction is balanced by the obvious typo that Ventura’s sampling was completed 18 July instead of 18 August. The above average validity rates of Marin, Monterey, and especially Stanislaus, Tulare, and Ventura counties brought the overall validity rate up from 66.9% to 69.2%. If the validity rate stays that high (but keep reading), Six Californias will qualify for a full count.

Another random sample update was released on Tuesday, August 19th. This had reports from four more counties: the small ones of Colusa (they did a full count, with a validity rate of 79.4%) and Del Norte (random sample, 59.2% valid), and the large ones of Sacramento (60.5%) and San Diego (69.5%). The overall validity rate dropped slightly to 68.3%, still high enough to qualify for a full count.

A third random sample update was released on Friday, August 22nd. This added two more counties as completing their random samples: Contra Costa County (validity rate 56.1%) and Imperial County (60.4%). That brings the overall validity rate down to 67.5%. Contra Costa County also discovered that they had 8 fewer raw signatures than they originally thought, bringing the total raw count down to 1,135,346 (was 1,135,354). Combining that with the lower validity rate gives a projected total of 766,359 valid signatures, 876 fewer than needed to qualify for a full count.

A total of 33 counties have completed their random sampling. We’re still waiting for the raw counts from Amador and Trinity counties. (Could it be that no signatures were collected there?) That leaves 23 still to report; the top ten are Los Angeles (311,924 raw signatures), San Bernardino (88,067), Riverside (74,478), Orange (52,217), Alameda (51,366), Fresno (38,382), Kern (26,444), San Luis Obispo (12,906), El Dorado (11,649), and Humboldt (7,280). I expect they will determine if Six Californias gets a full count.

In other news (and as President of an organization that believes in multi-party democracy I feel obligated to report this), the UCES’ Clowns (whoever they are) have announced their intention to qualify as a political party. If you would like to help them (I’m not necessarily advocating that you should, mind you), just fill out the online voter registration form and when you get to the part that asks “Do you want to disclose a political party preference?”, select “Yes”, then select “Other”, and then type “UCES’ Clowns” into the text box next to “Other”. They need to register a number of voters equal to 1 percent of the votes that will be cast in the upcoming November election in order for candidates to list them as their party preference in the June 2016 primary. 10,300,392 votes were cast in November 2010, making the previous qualification threshold 103,004, but turnout is expected to be lower this year so they’ll probably have a (slightly) easier time of it. In addition, the Veteran’s Party of America and the Constitution Party of California are also in the process of attempting to qualify as political parties.

–Steve Chessin

President, Californians for Electoral Reform (CfER)

www.cfer.org

The opinions expressed here are my own and not necessarily those of CfER.  

Report #7 on the Six Californias Signature Verification Process

There was no report from the SoS Monday. In Tuesday’s report (available at this website), Inyo County reported a raw count of 616 signatures. (That leaves just Amador and Trinity counties to report their raw numbers. Maybe we should have a pool on who will be last? :-)) Also, during Plumas County’s full count (they didn’t bother with a random sampling), they discovered that their raw count was only 1,618, not the 1,626 they originally reported. That brings the total raw count to 1,135,354 from 1,134,746. Plumas’s validity rate was 76.9%. In addition to Plumas, the following counties have finished their random sampling (with validity rate as indicated): Butte (66.6%), Madera (63.5%), and Mendocino (72.3%). The overall validity rate now stands at 66.9%, up slightly from the 66.8% reported last time.

Twenty of California’s 58 counties have completed their random sampling. At the current validity rate, Six Californias will need 7,797 more raw signatures to qualify for a full count. (I think they’ll be lucky to get another 2,000.) The alternative is for their validity rate to increase to at least 67.6%. The largest county (in terms of raw signatures) to report in so far is San Joaquin, with 27,831 raw signatures and a validity rate of 72.7%. There are nine counties with more raw signatures than San Joaquin: Los Angeles (311,924), San Diego (97,450), San Bernardino (88,067), Riverside (74,478), Orange (52,217), Alameda (51,366), Sacramento (43,578), Fresno (38,382), and Santa Clara (38,366). If their validity rates are higher than the current 66.9% overall number, they could pull it up enough so that Six Signatures will get a full count. Whether a full count would pull it up to the 71.1% needed to qualify for the ballot remains to be seen. (I doubt they can pull it up to the 78.2% necessary to qualify for the ballot without a full count.)

The counties have another month to complete their random sampling. And at the rate the reports are trickling in, it will probably take that long.

–Steve Chessin

President, Californians for Electoral Reform (CfER)

www.cfer.org

The opinions expressed here are my own and not necessarily those of CfER.

Report #6 on the Six Californias Signature Verification Process

Alameda County finally reported their raw signature count! According to Friday’s update from the SoS, they had 51,366 raw signatures (a collection rate of 6.4%, the same as the state average), bringing the total raw signature count up to 1,134,746. We’re still waiting for Amador, Inyo, and Trinity to report in, but with only 37,771 registered voters among them, I doubt they’ll contribute more than 2500 signatures to the raw count.

Also in today’s update are San Francisco’s random sample results. They had a validity rate of 73.7%, bringing the overall validity rate back up to 66.8%. That gives a projection (as of today) of 758,010 valid signatures, not enough to qualify for a full count. (Throwing in my estimate of 2500 raw signatures from the remaining three counties only adds another 1670 signatures, still not enough to get a full count.)

In my previous report I discussed the concept of margin of error, so today I calculated it. If a county has a raw count of R, a sample size of S, and a projected validity rate of P (converting the percentage figure to a decimal fraction), then I calculated the margin of error in signatures as R*sqrt(P*(1-P)/S). (Of course, if S is the same as R, as it is for Alpine, Modoc, and Mono counties, the margin of error is zero.) For example, Kings County had 3,187 raw signatures, a sample size of 500, and a projected validity rate of 0.762. That means the margin of error on the projected 2,428 signatures is 61 signatures (about 2.5%).

Doing this calculation for all the counties that have reported so far and combining them (taking the square root of the sum of the squares) gives a margin of error of 795 signatures on the sum of the counties’ projections of 79,552, or about 10%.

Applying that 10% margin of error to my projection of 758,010 means that Mr. Draper could have as few as 682,209 valid signatures or as many as 833,811. (Actually, what it means is that there is a 68% probability that the true figure is between those limits.) But unless the final projected number of valid signatures is above the 767,235 necessary to trigger a full count, we’ll never know how many valid signatures he actually collected.

One could argue that the criteria for doing a full count should take into consideration the estimated margin of error; that is, instead of projecting more than a fixed number (95% of the amount needed to qualify), if the projected range includes the amount needed to qualify then a full count should be done, but that’s not the way the law is written.

In a previous report I discussed how duplicate signatures were handled. Jim Riley has posted a good comment on that. In addition, my colleague David Cary has posted a PDF of his derivation of the estimation formula (much clearer and yet more rigorous than my hand-wavy one), as well as the PDF of the SoS’s one page description of the formula.

–Steve Chessin

President, Californians for Electoral Reform (CfER)

www.cfer.org

The opinions expressed here are my own and not necessarily those of CfER.

Report #5 on the Six Californias Signature Verification Process

Well, it’s another slow news day in the Six Californias signature verification world. There was no update from the SoS Wednesday. The only news in Thursday’s update was that the County of Santa Barbara finished their random sample, with a validity rate of 54.1%. This brings the overall validity rate down from 66.7% to 65.4%. Still no word from Alameda, Amador, Inyo, or Trinity counties as to their raw counts.

In my previous report I opined how the projected numbers made it seem unlikely that Six Californias would qualify for the ballot. It occurred to me that a random sample is subject to, well, randomness, and even if the projected number is below the number needed to qualify, a full count could reverse that. That indeed is what happened with the “State Fees on Hospitals” initiative that has qualified for the November 2016 ballot, so I thought a review of that initiative’s process might be educational.

Initiative 1613 (as it is known to the SoS) was filed late last April. By May 6th enough counties had submitted their raw counts to the SoS that she was able to declare on May 7th that more than 807,615 signatures had been filed and so the counties should begin their random sampling and report back no later than June 19th.

On June 19th, despite no projected numbers from Inyo, Mariposa, or Trinity counties, she reported that the initiative had a projected validity rate of 64.6% and a projected count of 787,693 signatures, not enough to qualify by random sample (which would have required a projected count of 888,377 signatures, 10% over the 807,615 minimum), but enough to require a full count of each and every signature. The full count was to complete by August 1st.

On August 1st she reported that, even without a full count from Kings County, the initiative had received either 807,950 or 807,984 valid signatures, enough (barely) to qualify for the ballot. (For some reason the spreadsheet shows different numbers in the “Valid Sigs.” and “Valid” column for Humboldt and Imperial counties. Also, the total in the “Valid” column is off by one as well, making me think someone doesn’t understand how to create a spreadsheet that adds the numbers for you.) The actual validity rate was 66.4%, almost two percentage points higher than projected.

I know when one does sampling one should also compute the margin of error. To be rigorous, you have to compute the margin of error separately for each county, and then combine them by squaring each one, adding them together, and then taking the square root. I’m not going to do the complete calculation right now (it’s late and I’m tired; I might do it for Six Californias when they finish the random sampling), but an oversimplified estimate gives an overall margin of error on the order of 5%. Thus the actual validity rate of 66.4% is within the margin of error of the estimated one, which is why even if an initiative is projected to fall short by 5% a full count is done.