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Alice Miller, Executive Director, Board of Elections and Ethics
Memorandum report of petition verification results for Initiative 68
August 5, 2004




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WASHINGTON, D.C. 20001-2745


TO: Board of Elections and Ethics
FROM: Alice P. Miller, Executive Director
DATE:   August 5, 2004
SUBJECT: Report of Petition Verification Results for Initiative Measure No. 68, "The Video Lottery Terminal Initiative of 2004"; Recommendation to Certify Initiative Measure No. 68 as Insufficient for the Ballot.

After completing the Board's standard procedures for verifying the voter registration status of petition signers and for validating the signatures contained in the above referenced petition, the Board's staff, in conjunction with the Office of Planning, Data Management Division, has determined that this initiative petition does not meet the statutory requirements for certification to the ballot, in accordance with D.C. Official Code Section 1- 204.101 (2001 Edition).

Therefore, it is recommended that the Board certify that Initiative Measure No. 68 is insufficient to appear on the next citywide ballot in the District of Columbia. This recommendation is based on the administrative internal review of the petition as well as the Board's resolution of challenges that were presented by Opponents to the Initiative.

Details of the petition verification process, mathematical formulae applied for calculation of statistical confidence levels, and related documentation are contained in several attachments to this report, which are listed further below. An overview of the verification process and its results are summarized as follows.

Overview of the Petition Verification Process

The petition verification process is conducted to determine whether an initiative petition contains the required number of registered voter signatures needed to qualify for placement on the ballot. The required minimum is 5% of the registered voters citywide and 5 % of those registered in at least 5 of the 8 wards based on the published registration totals in effect 30 days before the petition was filed. The numerical requirement for Initiative Measure No. 68 is shown in the table below:

Initiative Measure No. 68
Registration as of 04/30/2004 Signature Requirement (5%)
1 40,286 2,014
2 38,465 1,923
3 46,744 2,337
4 51,196 2,560
5 48,047 2,402
6 46,081 2,304
7 44,766 2,238
8 36,400 1,820
Citywide Totals 351,985 17,599
Following completion of the preliminary steps, detailed in the attached written procedures, the names of all persons signing the petition were checked against the Board's voter registration computer file to determine if each individual was a registered voter in the District of Columbia. Those petition signers whose names were found in the voter file were assigned the appropriate Ward corresponding to the address provided on the petition. In the case where a registered voter filed a change of address within a timely manner as prescribed by the statute and that address matched the address on the petition, the updated address was given the appropriate verification. Subsequent to its review of the petition as outlined herein, 21,664 remained subject to potential signature review.1

The petition verification process detailed - in Standard Procedures For Verification of Initiative Recall Petitions (Attachment 1) -- has four basic steps:

First, the Board's staff must determine that each of the addresses listed on the   davit of the Circulator was an address in the District of Columbia.

Second, the name of each petition signer is checked against the voter registration computer file to determine if the petitioner was a duly registered voter in the District at the time the petition was signed, as required by law. Included in this number are any petition signers whose name appears on the voter registry at a different address, if the Board's records indicate that the voter filed a change of address after the date on which the petition was signed. Only those petition signers whose names and addresses are found to match the Board's registered voter file are entered into the petition-checking program as "verified registrants".

Third, the totals of verified registrants are compiled, citywide and by Ward, to determine whether the petition contains the names of enough registered voters to proceed to the signature verification stage, in which the actual signatures on the petition are examined.

Fourth, the registration verification procedure is conducted to determine whether the petition contains the minimum number of valid registrants necessary to meet the statutory requirement of 5% of the registered voters, both citywide and in at least five of the eight election Wards. If this minimum requirement is met, the random samples of 100 valid registrant signatures are then drawn from each Ward, for comparison to the original voter signatures on file with the Board's records. The validity rate of the random samples are then used to make a statistical determination of the sufficiency of the petition as a whole, at a required confidence level of 95%.

Summary of Findings

After completing the procedures for verifying the voter registration status of petition circulators and signers as outlined above, including the removal of signatures where an initial determination was made on the challenges (Drake 1-7), and in those cases where signatures were conceded or withdrawn - the total number of registered voters listed in the petition was found to be 21,279. This total exceeded by 3,680 the required 5% minimum of 17,599 registrants citywide. In addition, the minimum required was attained in Wards, 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 - as shown in the third column on the table below. While Wards 2 and 3 fell below the required minimum, sufficient names of registered voters had been identified in the petition, at both the citywide and ward levels in order to make the determination to proceed to the next stage. However, since the universe of apparent verified signatures had not been determined, due to pending challenges, the random sample could not proceed at this point.

Initiative No. 68
Signatures of Registered Voters Required Potential Registrants Subject to Random Sample Universe
1 2,014 2,142
2 1,923 1,297
3 2,337 556
4 2,560 3,365
5 2,402 4,358
6 2,304 3,068
7 2,238 3,306
8 1,820 3,187
Citywide 17,599 21,279 

A. Challenges Filed to the Petition

Simultaneously, during the Board's independent 30 day review of an initiative measure, the Board must also resolve any challenges to the validity of the petition. The Board received two such challenges. Both challenges alleged fraud, forgeries and false statements in the collection of signatures. Moreover, both challenges alleged an overall pattern of misconduct and impropriety on the part of numerous initiative circulators.

The Board must ultimately resolve all of the challenges to the validity of a petition before it can be determined whether a petition contains a sufficient number of valid signatures to satisfy the statutory requirement for ballot access. In this regard, the Board rendered its ruling with respect to the challenges on August 3, 2004. In addition to several specific challenges to alleged defects in the petition, the Board found evidence of systematic improprieties and irregularities that compromised the integrity of the signature gathering effort in the portion of the petition drive operation conducted by the Stars and Stripes Corporation. Because of the pervasiveness of the problem, the Board rejected all of the signatures obtained by the Stars and Stripes organization. Based on the Board's ruling to reject the signatures collected by Stars and Stripes circulators, together with the other alleged defects, the total number of valid signatures was below the statutory requirement.

B. Petition Sheets and Signatures Withdrawn/Conceded

There were 99 petition sheets conceded by the Proponents on July 21, 2004. As a result of those petition sheets that were withdrawn, the initial number of signatures subject to verification was 21,664. Subsequent to the removal of the additional signatures, based on the Board's ruling on the Drake Challenge 1 through 7, and additional conceded/withdrawn signatures, the number of potential signatures subject to verification was 21,279.

C. Resolution of Remaining Challenges by the Board

On August 3, 2004, the Board ruled on the remaining aspects of the Challenges. The Board determined that a number of signatures should be removed for various reasons. The attached transcript and addendum of the Board's Hearing dated August 3, 2004 announcing the final decision on the challenges details the Board's determination as it relates to the challenges.

Based on the documents provided by the Proponents, in particular the "batch sheets", a determination was made as to the circulators associated with those entities that the Board ruled should be eliminated. The "batch sheets" clearly indicated those circulators associated with Stars & Stripes, Manatt, Phelps, & Phillips (MPP). However, no such determination could be made with respect to John Michael (Initiative Plus), and Burkett. Therefore, unless a link could be made as to the status of a circulator regarding their particular association with one of the named entities, the circulator's signatures remained in the universe of apparent verified signatures. See Attachment 3.


As a result of the final decision on the challenges filed against the petition, the remaining number of apparent verified signatures is 14,687.

At the citywide level, the Petition as a whole was rejected because it failed to meet the citywide signature requirement. Therefore it was not necessary to proceed to the subsequent steps of review.

While the petition thus met some of the ward-level requirements, it clearly failed the random sample test at the citywide level - primarily because the total number of registered voters it contained was below the minimum requirement.

Based on the foregoing, the result of the petition verification process for Initiative Measure No. 68 is that the Petition does not meet the statutory requirements for certification to the ballot and therefore it should be rejected by the Board since it does not contain a sufficient number of signatures of apparent verified registered voters of the District of Columbia. See table below.

Initiative Measure No. 68
Signatures of Registered Voters Required Number of Valid Signatures
l 2,014 1,419
2 1,923 803
3 2,337 399
4 2,560 2,738
5 2,402 3,124
6 2,304 2,076
7 2,238 1,917
8 1,820 2,211
Citywide 17,599 14,687

Index to Attachments [Not available online]

Attachment I : Standard Procedures for Verification of Initiative/Recall Petition; 

Attachment 2: Board of Elections and Ethics Transcript dated August 3, 2004; 

Attachment 3: List of Circulators Identified by the Board and the Proponents

1. Pursuant to 3 DCMR Section 1007. these totals do not represent the number of apparent signatures remaining following the removal of signatures that were withdrawn or conceded by the proponents of the initiative as a result of the challenges filed to the petition. Further, these totals do not reflect the Board's ruling on the Drake challenges numbered 1-7.

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