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August 31, 2018

STAFF REPORT:
“PROMOTE THE VOTE” INITIATIVE PETITION FOR
AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION
Result of Two-Stage Sampling of 3,799 Signatures

Sponsor: Promote the Vote, 2966 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, Michigan 48201.

Date of Filing: July 9, 2018, which was the deadline to submit an initiative petition for
constitutional amendment for placement on the November ballot.1

Number of Valid Signatures Required: 315,654 signatures.

The Two-Stage Sampling Process

The two-stage sampling process was selected for the canvass of this petition. Under the Board’s
established procedures, a small sample of approximately 500 signatures is drawn at the first
stage, and the result of that sample determines whether there is sufficient confidence in the
outcome to immediately recommend certification or the denial of certification. If, instead, the
result of the small sample indicates a “close call,” a second random sample of approximately
3,000 – 4,000 signatures must be taken to provide a final result with the maximum confidence
level that can be obtained.

Before the first-stage sample is drawn, the entire petition filing is reviewed page-by-page (here,
over 94,000 sheets), so that wholly invalid petition sheets can be identified, culled, and excluded
from the “universe” of potentially valid signatures from which a sample is drawn. This obviously
benefits petition sponsors as it reduces the likelihood that sampled signatures will be invalidated
due to fatal defects which render entire petition sheets invalid.

Total Filing: 94,218 sheets containing 433,069 signatures.

Excluded from Sample: 3,043 sheets containing 11,714 signatures.

A. Sheets C. B.
Signatures
Sheets having bar code stickers applied on top of and
partially concealing the certificate of circulator and/or
warning statement to circulators: 2,025 8,258

1
MCL 168.471.
BUREAU OF ELECTIONS
RICHARD H. AUSTIN BUILDING  1ST FLOOR  430 W. ALLEGAN  LANSING, MICHIGAN 48918
www.Michigan.gov/sos  (517) 373-2540
Defective circulator certificate:
(Date error, failure of out-of-state circulator to
check box, incomplete address, etc.) 700 2,669
Jurisdiction error:
(Invalid county name in heading) 111 423
Signer entry errors where every signature on a sheet
contains a fatal defect:
(Incomplete or omitted date, address, etc.) 190 266
Miscellaneous errors:
(wrong petition drive, torn sheets, etc.) 17 98
Total 3,043 11,714

Included in Sample: 91,175 sheets containing 421,355 signatures (the universe).

First Stage – Inconclusive Result

The first stage sample of 500 signatures was found to contain 382 valid signatures, an inconclusive
result which required that a second random sample be drawn and canvassed to ensure ample
confidence in the final result. The table below represents the result of the first stage sample, for
which no challenge was filed.

Additionally, the table reflects the results of Promote the Vote’s attempts to rehabilitate 58
signatures,2 including 12 affidavits purportedly signed by individuals whose signatures on petition
sheets did not appear to match the digitized signature in the Qualified Voter File (QVF). Of the 58
signatures the sponsor attempted to rehabilitate, staff accepted 5 signatures as valid.

Affidavits. By law, “[t]he qualified voter file shall be used to determine the validity of
petition signatures by verifying the registration of signers and the genuineness of signatures
on petitions[.]”3 The Bureau of Elections assigns this task to a select few of its full-time
employees who possess years of experience in reviewing petition signatures. In view of the
statutory mandate to compare the QVF’s digitized signature to the petition signature, staff
did not accept disputed signatures as valid due solely to the affidavits. Instead, staff
carefully re-reviewed each of the 12 disputed petition signatures for which affidavits were
submitted and the QVF digitized signature; this QVF-to-petition-signature comparison
resulted in staff accepting 2 of the disputed signatures as valid. Consequently, there are 10
disputed signatures for which affidavits were submitted that are currently coded as invalid.

Number of Sampled Signatures – First Stage: 500 signatures.

Sample Result – First Stage: 382 valid signatures, 118 invalid signatures.

2
Promote the Vote attempted to rehabilitate the “signature” of a person who died at least five months prior
to the date the petition was signed. According to the QVF, the deceased individual is the only person by that name
who was registered to vote in MI; the person’s death was reported to the Secretary of State by the Social Security
Administration five months before the date of signing.
Nonetheless, Promote the Vote disputed staff’s invalidation of this patently fraudulent signature, writing: “Voter
is registered at [address]. Voter provided this address and voted as recently as 2016, which is too soon to have been
cancelled by the cancellation countdown.” Under Michigan law, cancellation of a deceased person’s voter
registration is authorized without prior notice to the voter. MCL 168.509(o).
3
MCL 168.476(1) (emphasis added).
2
Valid signatures
Registered signers; signatures verified: 382
Invalid signatures
Not registered to vote: 46
Jurisdiction and address errors
(Dual jurisdiction entries, no jurisdiction by that name in
county, address given is located outside of the city or
township indicated, no address): 43
Signature errors
(missing, incomplete, or non-matching signatures): 25
Date errors
(invalid or omitted date, signature dated after circulator): 3
Duplicate signatures:4 1
Total 500

This first-stage result projects that the petition contains 321,915 valid signatures but at a
confidence level of only 79.6%, below the threshold necessary to immediately recommend
certification.

Number of valid signatures Formula Result
390 or more Certify
361-389 Sample more signatures
360 or fewer Deny certification

Given the inconclusive result, analysis of a second, larger sample was required to ensure sufficient
confidence in the final outcome. However, 3 days before staff could complete its review of the
second sample and issue this report, Promote the Vote filed a federal lawsuit seeking a court order
to compel the Board to certify its petition to the ballot5 a mere 50 days after the date it filed its
petition. Notwithstanding the extremely compressed time available to canvass this petition6 and
challenges associated with simultaneously defending litigation regarding this canvass, all statutory
deadlines associated with processing this petition have been met.

Second Stage – Conclusive Result Obtained with Acceptable Confidence Level

The purpose of the second-stage sample is to obtain a result that definitively indicates whether or
not the petition contains a sufficient number of valid signatures to merit certification. Here, the
second sample consists of 3,299 signatures. Once review of the second sample is complete, the
results of both the first-stage sample and second-stage sample are added together to provide a
final combined result (500 + 3,299 = 3,799).

A challenge was timely filed by Protect My Vote, questioning the validity of over 700 signatures
within the second sample. Of these, staff accepted 11 challenges and coded these signatures as
invalid; the remaining challenges either overlapped staff’s review or were rejected. The table
below reflects these results.

4
One voter signed the petition twice, and these signatures were included in both the first and second samples.
5
Promote the Vote v Johnson, U.S. Dist Ct (ED MI) Docket No. 2:18-CV-12692-TGB, filed August 28, 2018.
6
For reference, the canvass of the initiative petition sponsored by Protecting Michigan Taxpayers earlier this
election cycle also progressed to the second stage of the two-stage random sampling process, and lasted 174 days.

3
The minimum number of valid signatures required to recommend certification is 2,846.

Number of Sampled Signatures, First and Second Samples Combined: 3,799 signatures.

Combined Sample Result: 2,901 valid signatures; 898 invalid signatures.
Valid signatures
Registered signers; signatures verified: 2,901

Invalid signatures
Not registered to vote:7 358
Jurisdiction and address errors
(Dual jurisdiction entries, no jurisdiction by that name in
county, address given is located outside of the city or
township indicated, no address): 359
Signature errors
(missing, incomplete, or non-matching signatures): 128
Date errors
(invalid or omitted date, signature dated after circulator): 51
Duplicate signatures: 2
Total 3,799

The number of sampled signatures found to be valid (2,901) exceeds the minimum number
required to recommend certification (2,846) by 55.

Estimated Number of Valid Signatures Contained on the Petition: Based on the result of the
combined random sample of 3,799 signatures, it is estimated that the petition contains 321,755
valid signatures.

The difference between the first-stage projection and second-stage projection of the number of
valid signatures is only 160 signatures, a difference of 0.04%, but the result of the combined
random sample correlates to a confidence level of 98.25%, an improvement of over 18
percentage points compared to the first-stage sample result.

Staff Recommendation

Staff recommends that the Board certify that the petition contains a sufficient number of valid
signatures.

7
This category includes the “signatures” of 6 individuals who died between 2012-2017 and whose voter
registrations were cancelled before this petition was placed in circulation, including the person described in FN 5.
The “not registered” category also contains the “signature” of Dwight Schrute, a fictional character on the
television show The Office. According to the QVF, there is no record of any voter with the surname Schrute having
been registered to vote in Michigan.
4