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)

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

5 thoughts on “Report #14 on the Six Californias Signature Verification Process”

  1. I just learned of Thursday’s report by Josh Richman concerning One California, the organization formed to oppose the Six Californias proposal. In it he says:

    Draper, 56, of Atherton, in July filed about 1.3 million petition signatures Tuesday [sic] in hopes of qualifying the measure for the November 2016 ballot.


    OneCalifornia claims the qualification rate so far isn’t looking good: The measure is below the 71.0% validity rate required to qualify for the ballot in a majority of potential “states” and below the 67.4% validity rate required for a full count in half the “states.”

    The first is just plain wrong; Six Californias filed only about 1.14 million signatures. The second is misleading; what counts is the validity rate in the entire state, not in the “states” proposed by Six Californias.

    Now if someone like myself who writes these diary entries in his spare time has the time to debunk the claims made by the supporters and opponents of Six Californias, why can’t someone whose day job is to write about those claims do the same? (And correct his cut-and-paste errors while he’s at it as well; “Tuesday”?)

  2. I didn’t realize you were continuing this series in the diaries! I’m going to copy pasta (with a few edits) what I commented on report #6:

    I’ve been pedantically following every update, on my own spreadsheet.

    As of September 5th, with about 2/3rds of the random sample complete (68.5% of the signatures that will be checked as part of the random sample, have been, representing 64.5% of the raw signatures, in counties accounting for 67% of the state’s registered voters), the proposition is teetering on the balance of qualifying for a full count. With a current validity rate of 67.65%, the remaining third must achieve a validity rate of 67% – in other words, it can slightly underperform the first two-thirds, and still meet the full-count threshold.

    To reach the ballot without a full signature count, the remaining counties would need a validity rate of 97.2%, which is impossibly high.

    It is a moot projection, since any proposition close to qualifying will require a full count, but 77.09% of the remaining signatures must be valid for the sample to project enough signatures to reach the ballot.

    Trying to guess Los Angeles: I ran a few linear regressions of the number of projected valid signatures vs. first the number of registered voters, and second the raw count. The former has a pretty low R^2 (0.83), so I’m discounting it, but it predicts 195k valid (62.5%) in Los Angeles – in other words, the larger the county, proportionally fewer valid signatures were found. On the other hand, a linear regression of Raw Count vs. Projected Valid gave an R^2 of 0.99 – but it just predicts LA will follow the state as a whole with 67.52%, and thus that there is no significant prediction of diminishing validity rates as the total count of signatures in a county increases.

    So far, based on the duplicates found in the random sample, 5.7% of the raw signature count are projected to be duplicates. If every projected duplicate were in fact valid (i.e if the duplicate projection were so screwy that the 171 duplicates actually counted [so far] were the only real duplicates – an incredibly unlikely scenario), it would raise the valid rate to 71.7% – which would just barely be enough for the measure to qualify for the ballot.

    On my spreadsheet, my projected duplicate count is often 1 higher than the state’s (in one county: 2 higher). I don’t know if that’s an error with my rounding and truncating, or with the SoS’s. The law about projecting duplicates often specifies exactly how to round some calculations, but not others. But it is exceedingly unlikely that those ambiguities (which by my estimate could never exceed 50 duplicates) could tip any of the action thresholds.

    Tim Draper initially claimed 1.3 million signatures were submitted, though the Secretary of State’s raw count is only 1.137 million, meaning 13% of the signatures disappeared before they were even considered. If those missing 168k signatures met the prevailing validity rate, the measure would have qualified for the ballot without a full count. I wonder if the discrepency is because submitted petitions were rejected wholesale, or because the measure’s proponents err’d – or lied, to maintain media exposure for their cause? If some petitions bearing signatures were rejected before the raw count, I wonder how many, and why?  

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