Petition Trivia: Krebs Posts Sheet Counts for Eight Initiatives

In today’s ballot measure trivia, an update from the Secretary of State to the Legislature’s Executive Board gives us the total number of petition sheets submitted for each ballot measure undergoing validation right now in Pierre. Remember that a single petition consists of multiple sheets. The forms approved by Secretary Krebs included blanks for 10 to 25 signatures.

Title of Measure Sponsor’s Estimated Signatures Sheets Sigs/ Sheet Spaces available Sheet efficiency
VPAC/IM22 2.0 50,000 5,506 9.1 10 90.8%
Mickelson Money Ban 18,020 1,041 17.3 20 86.6%
Tobacco Tax for Vo-Tech 19,200 1,196 16.1 20 80.3%
Open Primaries 37,230 2,608 14.3 25 57.1%
Independent Redistricting 34,394 3,017 11.4 15 76.0%
Vote by Mail 19,850 1,915 10.4 10 103.7%
Drug Price Cap 22,481 1,943 11.6 15 77.1%
Medical Marijuana 14,950 878 17.0 20 85.1%
totals: 166,125 12,598 13.2 82.1%

The award for petition efficiency goes to… uh oh. Voting by mail circulators had just ten blanks on their SOS Krebs-approved petition form but, dividing their estimate of signatures collected by the Secretary’s count of sheets, they averaged 10.4 signatures per sheet. I’m all for 103.7% efficiency in paper usage, but signatures outside the lines on petitions are verboten.

I see two simple arithmetic explanations. Either sponsors Drey Samuelson and Rick Weiland overcounted their signatures, which error SOS Krebs will rectify shortly, or SOS Krebs undercounted their sheets, in which case Samuelson and Weiland should call Pierre with an SOS/APB (all-petitions bulletin) and tell Krebs to find the 500 sheets that she may have forgotten at the bottom of the submission box.

On the signature/sheet counts that make sense, Represent South Dakota made the best use of its papers, filling 90.8% of its signature slots on each sheet. Of course, with only ten blanks per page, they needed more paper.

Optimal petition paper efficiency is apparently the purview of people with Ms for initials. Mark Mickelson and Melissa Mentele both filled more than 80% of the blanks on their 20-signature petition sheets. Independent redistricting and the drug price cap both were in the 70s for efficiency on 15-signature sheets.

Joe Kirby and De Knudson offered the shortest initiative text and thus had room for the most signatures per sheet, 25. Yet their average of 14.3 signatures per sheet means they had the lowest sheet efficiency of the submitted petitions, 57.1%.

Sheet efficiency may reflect no meaningful difference in petition drive operations or voter appeal of each measure. But that average of 82% sheet efficiency centered around the 20-signature sheets could suggest to future petition drive planners how much paper they should expect to be trundling to Pierre on deadline day.