The Los Angeles County Registrar has completed the process of validating and counting a random sample of 5% (i.e., 1/20) of the recall petitions. See this press release. The sample was 35,793 signatures, of which 27,983 were found valid. If exactly the same ratio holds for the total petitions, the number of valid signatures would be 27,983 x 20 = 559,660. That would be agonizingly close but 7,197 short of the required 566,857.
The law would allow the Registrar to “call it” based on the random sample if the sample had come in with a clearly sufficient 31,179 or clearly insufficient 25,510. Those numbers correspond to 10% over and 10% short, respectively. As the number falls between those two markers, a full count if required.
This is rather disappointing. A 22% reject rate seems high, but I am now told it is considered normal in the petition trade. The final count could be within what John Fund famously called “the margin of litigation.” We could be in for a post-count flurry of court action reminiscent of the 2000 Tally Hassle in Tallahassee.
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