Hope for Referendum 71’s Failure in Washington

Timothy Kincaid

August 18th, 2009

Today the signature verification process crossed the half way point; now 53% of signatures have been inspected. With 72,976 reviewed, and 8,229 permanently rejected, the fail rate for the referendum now stands at 11.28%. *

Of the 64,713 remaining signatures, if less than 55,844 are valid – or a fail-rate of the remaining signatures of 13.74%, then the legislature’s domestic partnership enhancements become law without requiring a vote of the electorate.

And now the good news: today’s posted results were on 7,445 signatures and included 1,028 permanent rejections, a rate of 13.81%. If the remaining signatures do no better than today, the petition will fail. And while there is a chance that today is an anomoly, this is still a hopeful sign.

* my fail-rate differs from that of the Secretary of State because they include as “falure” those signatures that are waiting for a clean copy from the county and which will likely be reclassified as “accepted” when received.


August 18th, 2009


I wanted to bring to your attention a WA blogger who has been doing some real hardcore (or perhaps I should say nerdcore) analysis of the R71 signature count. He has been running regular Monte Carlo analyses. They are all way over my head, but since you are an accountant, you might be able to better assess the quality of the analysis.

Anyway, he is extremely pessimistic and concludes that R71 is virtually certain to qualify. He says that in over 100,000 simulations, R71 fails to qualify in only 34 scenarios. (He has not yet posted in regard to today’s results.)

I frankly do not understand how he can come up with that conclusion given that we are at the half-way point and are now just over 1 percent behind on the necessary minimum error rate. Also, his analysis disregards entirely the controversy over the one-sided master check policy.

Here is the site. I can’t deep-link for some reason, but just scroll down to one of Daryl’s posts:


One other point: Tomorrow the SoS releases data about their “sample” master-check of 200 signatures that had been accepted by the junior checkers. If even 1 signature shifts to the reject pile (a .5% error rate), then this is becomes a huge issue — the 2009 equivalent of the hanging chad. Frankly, I think this issue will be litigated if R71 qualifies, even if no signatures are shifted out of the sample.

Timothy Kincaid

August 18th, 2009


Sadly, I’m not much of a statistician. Instinctively, I’m not on the same page as the reference, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Gabriel Arana

August 19th, 2009

This reporting is great, though I must say I’m finding the play-by-play stressful!


August 19th, 2009

Tim, I encourage people to get active NOW in preparing for a fight on the November ballot. It’s great to be hopeful that the referendum won’t qualify, but in the mean time we must prepare for the worst. Washington state now uses mail-in ballots, and people can start voting as soon as they get their ballots. Ballots will be mailed out October 14th. That’s less than 60 days away. If people sit around daydreaming about the chance that the referendum won’t qualify, we lose precious time.

Referendum 71 voters will be asked to approve or reject the domestic partnership law in November. Vote “APPROVED” to preserve the new domestic partnership law. Sign up with Washington Families Standing Together (WAFST.org) to help get the word out.

REFERENDUM 71 Ballot Title
Statement of Subject: The legislature passed Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill 5688 concerning rights and responsibilities of state-registered domestic partners [and voters have filed a sufficient referendum petition on this bill].

Concise Description: This bill would expand the rights, responsibilities, and obligations accorded state-registered same-sex and senior domestic partners to be equivalent to those of married spouses, except that a domestic partnership is not a marriage.

Should this bill be:

Approved ___
Rejected ___

Timothy (TRiG)

August 19th, 2009

The reason you can’t deep-link is that the site merely frames another site. Here’s a direct link to Darryl’s post: http://horsesass.org/?p=19106



August 19th, 2009

The error rate continues to deteriorate. It is now at 11.67%. We only have .74% to go.

We are within striking distance. Last week, it had been moving up at about .31% per 10,000 signatures checked. Then we hit a bad Monday when it barely moved up at all. But the last two days, it has been moving up significantly. This last uptick is .35% after only 7,000 names checked.

I may not know how to do complex Monte Carlo analyses, but if we can keep this rate of deterioration going, then we will be at 12.41% even before we hit the 100,000 name point. No wonder Gary Randall has been accusing the Secretary of speeding up the process and generating false rejects. But they are checking fewer names each day, indicating they are taking it slow.

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