What Fresh Hell Is This?

August 18, 2006

Fist FIght over Petitions

The Other Political Junkie posted the news break earlier today about the fist fight that broke out today in Harrisburg. From the AP:
A scuffle broke out Friday between campaign volunteers counting signatures to determine whether the Green Party's candidate for U.S. Senate can appear on the November ballot.
Scuffle, fight. You say toMAYto, I say toMAHto.
Democratic volunteer Alex Hartzler said a Green Party volunteer elbowed a Democratic volunteer, and that another Green Party volunteer threw a punch at a court official, who had moved in to break it up.

Green Party volunteer Charles Sherrouse said the court official was the first to become physical, grabbing another Green Party volunteer to break up the argument. The dispute ended in the hallway outside when Sherrouse and others separated the official and the volunteer, Sherrouse said.

The Green Party is being aided by volunteers who signed in from Santorum's campaign, as well as people who were involved with the anti-incumbent group PACleanSweep. The signature counters have been arguing all week, although the fight on Friday was the first physical altercation, witnesses said.
A source close to the challenges informed me that the scuffle began because Santorum's Greens continued to dispute some challenges despite a court ruling earlier in the week to the contrary. An attorney for the Democrats told them the issue had already been settled and that's when all heck broke loose.

But lost in all the fisticuffs are the numbers. And things seem to be getting rather grim for Santorum's Greens.

In a press release today, the Casey Campaign claimed that of the 70,000 challenges made, 9,000 have been reviewed so far. And of those 9,000 challenges, 60% have been ruled valid. That means assuming I am correctly understanding the press release and assuming my math is just as correct, they've found 5,400 invalid signatures so far. 17% of those 9,000 are still under review.

Santorum's Greens say they submitted around 90,000 signatures. The Casey camp puts it at about 80,000. According to The Post-Gazette:
To get on the ballot this year, all third party and independent candidates were required to collect 67,070 valid signatures on their petitions.
First let's take the widest margin. If Santorum's Greens did indeed submit 90,000 and only 67,000 of them need to be valid, that leaves room for no more than 23,000 invalid signatures. And as I have already written, of the first 9,000 challenged, 5,400 have been ruled invalid.

23,000 minus 5,400 leaves only 17,600. This means that if more than 17,600 signatures are ruled invalid, Romanelli's goose is cooked.

But that's 17,600 out of about the remaining 81,000. That's only 21% of the total.

What do you think the chances of election officials ruling that in one section of petitions, the rate of invalid signatures is a whopping 60%, but in the rest it's a far weaker 21%?

The numbers look even worse if Santorum's Greens submitted only 80,000 signatures. If that is indeed the case, then only 7,600 more invalid signatures need to be found. And 7,600 out of 71,000 is little more than 10%.

Again what are the chances that in one chunk, the "invalid signature" rate is 60% while it's 10% everywhere else?

No wonder tensions are high.

Santorum's followers paid $100,000 for this?

UPDATE: Tom Barnes has an article in the P-G on this. Some clarifications are in order.
Tension has been growing between Democrats and Green Party members over the validity of the Greens' political petition signatures, and yesterday the rising tempers escalated into a scuffle and shoving match at the state Capitol.

Six Capitol police officers had to be summoned to a room at the Department of State where the two sides were going over thousands of petition signatures the Greens submitted in an effort to get their candidate, Carl Romanelli, onto the ballot for the U.S. Senate race in November.
And a little down the page:
The scuffle followed a war of words that has gone on all week between the Democrats and the Greens. Democrats have filed a challenge with Commonwealth Court over the legitimacy of 69,000 of the 93,000 petition signatures Mr. Romanelli has turned in.
So there were 69,000 challenges on 93,000 signatures.

Ok so let's run the numbers again. If the Democrats are challenging 69,000 of the 93,000 signatures, I guess that means the 24,000 they're NOT challenging must be valid. If all that's the case, then Santorum's Greens need at least 43,000 (or a "success rate" of 62% of that 69,000) more valid signatures to get Romanelli on the ballot.

But if it's also the case that 60% of the first 9,000 signatures challenged have already been ruled invalid, as the Democrats say, then Santorum's Greens will have to find those 43,000 valid signatures in the remaining 60,000 (their "success rate" now jumps to about 73%).

Or look at it the other way. Santorum's Greens need 67,000 valid signatures out of the 93,000 submitted. So if the Democrats find more than 26,000 invalid signatures, the game's simply over. They say they've already found 5,400 from the first 9,000 challenged.

So the Democrats only need to find 20,600 more invalid signatures out of the remaining 60,000 (a much lower "success rate" of 33%).

If their success rate of 60% stands, they'll find 36,000 more invalid signatures for a total of about 41,000 - or 15,000 more than they'd need.

Heck, if $100, 000 of mine were riding on numbers like that, I might be a tad testy, too!

Technorati Tag:

1 comment:

Luke young said...

On my Blog(from the UK) I'm asking who will take the White House in 2008? What do you think? who's your favourite? http://lukejyoung.blogspot.com/2006/08/america-decides-08-who-will-win.html

please join in