If you haven’t already heard, the Secretary of State for Missouri did not validate our efforts to Cap the Rate and Raise the Wage. You can read more about it here. Progress Missouri also describes what happend as does the Kansas City Star.
I don’t mind telling you that I’m angry right now. I’m angry because something seems a little off. Let’s look at the facts a little more closely. We turned in 343,650 signatures, which is nearly twice the Secretary of State’s requirement. Broken out by petition that’s 176,346 for Payday and 167,304 for minimum wage. That’s a lot of people across the state of Missouri who believe the current system needs to be fixed.
Here’s what’s off. We checked our signatures on our own before we turned them in. This is called the “validation process” because it’s important to determine which of our signatures will count. The lowest validation rates we had for our signatures throughout the state was 69%. In St. Louis City, our internal validation rate was 73%. In every other part of the state, our internal validation was within 4 point of the election authorities’ counts. Yet in St. Louis City, election officials say our validation rate was 49%. That means that of the 59,802 signatures that we submitted in St. Louis City (31,582 for Payday and 28,220 for minimum wage) more than half of them were discarded. Given that we are 1,601 signatures short to Raise the Wage and 270 signatures short to Cap the Rate, you can understand why I’m angry.
I’m angry, because we’ve recently learned that our signatures were counted by contractors in St. Louis and not the election board itself. I’m angry because the will of the people has been circumvented by 1,871 votes when 30,000 were rejected.
I won’t stay angry because there is a plan moving forward. We will be examining every signature that was discarded to make sure it was not improperly miscast. Too many people have been engaged in this fight for too long for us to simply accept this. Right now though it bears repeating: I’m angry.
Deth Im, CCO Director of Clergy Organizing and Congregational Development