Two for two! Secretary of State Shantel Krebs just told me that her team has certified the petition to refer Senate Bill 177, the youth minimum wage, to a public vote. Contrary to the nefarious wishes of Senator David Novstrup (R-3/Aberdeen), South Dakota young people earning minimum wage will not face a pay cut tomorrow. The minimum wage for workers under 18 will remain at $8.50, just like for every other worker, just as South Dakotans voted for it in 2014.
Here are the petition numbers:
- Our count of SB 177 signatures submitted: 20,077.
- Secretary Krebs’s count of SB 69 signatures submitted: 21,277.
- Secretary Krebs’s calculated number of valid signatures: 17,077.
- Minimum signatures required to make the ballot: 13,871.
- Calculated signature error/invalid rate: 19.7%.
- Maximum allowable error/invalid rate: 34.8%.
- Signatures to spare: 3,206.
South Dakotans will get a chance to vote on the lower youth minimum wage on their November 2016 ballot, where this bad economic idea will be labelled “Referred Law 20.” Remember, South Dakotans: if you think Senator Novstrup was wrong to try to short kids and undo the will of the voters, the correct vote on Referred Law 20 is “NO!” (The election is still 497 days away; we’ll remind you as the election gets closer!)
SB177 (youth minimum wage) referendum petitions have been validated and filed with 17,077 signatures approved. pic.twitter.com/L6wHQTrMbn
— Shantel Krebs (@SOSKrebs) June 30, 2015
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Those of you really interested in petition minutiae may have noticed that the SB 177 petition calculated error rate was 19.7%, while the SB 69 petition calculated error rate was only 15.7%. The petitions had many of the same circulators and signers; what happened?
Secretary Krebs found that our SB 177 submission included about 90 sheets that were photocopies of original, signed, notarized sheets. We did not include signatures from duplicates in our original count of 20,077 signatures. Those copies appear to be simple clerical error, a sheaf of papers going into the wrong box. The Secretary does not count signatures on photocopied sheets; however, those sheets do go into her calculation of signatures submitted. Those photocopied sheets thus explain why the Secretary’s calculated count has 1,200 more “signatures” than the number we said we were submitting yesterday.
Now, here’s the math on the error rate. Remember that the Secretary of State has to test a 5% sample of the signatures (not of the sheets, but of signatures). The Secretary’s team assigns a code number to each signature, then uses a spreadsheet to randomize those code numbers and select a 5% sample. 5% of the 20,077 signatures that we counted would have been 1,004 signatures.
However, the SOS methodology includes all sheets, even if they are demonstrably bogus and not meant to be part of the submission. In this case, that means the duplicates go into the sampling. Thus, 5% of the Secretary’s calculated 21,277 signatures is 1,064 signatures.
SOS Krebs reports that her random sample pulled about 60 signatures from the identified photocopy pages, all which signatures were of course invalidated. Given the numbers she reports, I calculate that Team Krebs found 210 invalid signatures out of that 1,064-signature sample. Had they drawn signatures only from the original sheets intended to be submitted, and if the circulators would have produced the same error rate as on SB 69, Team Krebs would have found about 158 invalid signatures.
Including those photocopies in our submission box is still our error. But including those 60 additional bogus signatures in the 5% random sample appears to account for most of the additional error in the SB 177 petition.
The point here: circulators, you did a heck of a job, producing not one but two successful referendum petitions with relatively low rates of invalid signatures. Well done, circulators!
p.s.: The error rate for the 2013 initiative petition that placed the minimum wage increase on the 2014 ballot was 18.63%.