Margin of Error


For a Constitutional right, what is the acceptable "margin of error"?


That question is more than just theoretical.  Individual counties and the California Secretary of State are now more than one month into the process of counting valid signatures submitted to qualify a referendum to overturn the co-ed bathroom bill.  


"Counting" may not be an accurate term.  There is a raw count of signatures submitted to the 58 counties.  But then just a small portion of these signatures are analyzed to provide an estimate of the number of signatures that are valid.


With many counties still to report, the Secretary of State is currently claiming a validity rate of 78.51%.  That means that slightly more than 1 out of 5 of the signatures submitted are not being counted.  Some of this is proper.  Unfortunately some individuals that signed the petition are not registered to vote or have moved without changing their registration.  But some of the signatures are being excluded for other, more questionable reasons.


At this stage of the referendum qualifying process, the Secretary of State is trying to determine if PFAS has submitted at least 95% of the nearly 505,000 signatures required to qualify the referendum.  (The current validity rate translates to more than 96%, and this has been climbing as new counties report.)  If it is determined that we have submitted at least 95% of the necessary signatures, then the Secretary of State will conduct a full count of all of the signatures submitted.  If it is determined that we fell short of the 95% threshold, then the referendum does not qualify and no full count is conducted.


For this initial determination, the individual counties look at 3% or at least 500 signatures of those submitted.  What they find in that 3% is then projected to the other signatures submitted but not analyzed.  The results are sometimes not what one would expect.  In one county, 2 duplicates found in a sample of 517 resulted in more than 2,000 signatures being thrown out from the slightly more than 17,000 submitted.  Inevitably PFAS will be told that this shocking result will be balanced in another county where much fewer duplicates are projected.  And certainly we will hear about an acceptable "margin of error". 


But should the citizens that signed the petition in an attempt to exercise their Constitutional right have to rely on "estimates" and a "margin of error"?  Any possibility that the referendum will not go forward based on "error" is unacceptable. 


PFAS is preparing to challenge certain aspects of the process that substitute formulas and estimates for actual counting of the signatures. 


Every valid signature that was submitted should count. 


Challenging these matters in court is an expensive but necessary part of qualifying the referendum.  And PFAS can use your donations to help with these costs.  Please donate today.


Gina Gleason





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