Political circles and City Hall watchers are in a lather right now, wondering whether we’ll have ourselves a referendum in November. From what I can gather, we won’t. Bear in mind that I’m unethical. But here’s what I know (and what I think I know):
WHAT I KNOW:
— Molly Motley Blythe has the best name in local journalism. But she and Bruce Tomaso, in their story today, could have shown just a little love to FrontBurner for breaking the story about the signature-gathering murderer. They didn’t. This is a little off topic. But I do know this, so I wanted to get that out there.
— Angela Hunt and the TrinityVote folks turned in 80,000 signatures. They need 48,000 valid ones. The deadline for verifying those signatures is this Sunday, but the City Secretary would like to make an announcement before then. And do you know how the City Secretary’s office verifies signatures? People look at them. And they manually type these names into a database of registered voters to see whether the signatory is, in fact, a real person and so forth. Stupid me, I figured these 80,000 records existed in an Excel document so that duplicates could be stripped out and the entire thing, all 80,000 records, could be matched up with a voter database. That’s not the way it’s done. It would take too long. So the city samples from the 80,000 records. It takes a percentage, examines that much smaller number of records, then extrapolates.
WHAT I DON’T KNOW:
— The sampling rate. Does the city look at 20,000 records? 10,000? I don’t know.
SOMETHING ELSE I KNOW:
— This is the 21st century. Are you kidding me? We can’t get this stuff into an Excel document? There are people in India right now, waiting to key in this data cheaply so we can more thoroughly examine it and ensure Democracy has its day. Or, I guess those people in India are probably asleep right now. But mark my words: they will wake up soon, and they’ll want something to do.
WHAT I THINK I KNOW:
— Angela Hunt and the TrinityVote folks came up short. The City Secretary’s office is doing or has done at least one re-examination of the data, to double-check their work. My source? I’ve talked to three knowledgeable people, each with solid connections inside City Hall. Not one of the three actually works at City Hall, though, so I’m forced to classify this info as a rumor at this point. I suppose if I were more ethical, I’d just keep it to myself. But I’m not. So I didn’t.
Update: The Council and just about everyone else is off at a big retreat, so getting official comment is going to be tough. Working on it, though.