A Ballot Committee of
Citizens for Limited Taxation & Government
PO Box 408 * Peabody, MA 01960
Phone:(617) 248-0022 /(508) 538-3900 E-Mail:
Visit our web-page at:

*** Promise Update ***
Thursday, November 27, 1997
Thanksgiving Day -

Happy Thanksgiving Day friends;

As we sit around the dinner table today, I’m sure the question will come up at a few at least: "So how’s the petition drive going?" I know it’ll come up at mine!

How do we answer, with the totals still incomplete but with us still some 10,000 signatures short or what we need to succeed? Do we gulp and lose our appetites, think of what more we could have done to get those few extra signatures while there was still time?

No—certainly not yet. And personally, I don’t think we’ll ever have to subject ourselves to such self-examination or any recriminations. Because I think we’re going to make it.

Remember, we never used to have this "new-fangled" state computerized system. In petitions drives past, we simply knocked ourselves out until the deadline, delivered our petitions to the clerks across the state, picked them up again, counted certified signatures—and only then did we know how we did. This new voyeuristic system is a blessing and a curse. It’s like the proverbial Chinese water torture, isn’t it? Drip, drip, drip . . .

Let us not ourselves forget the warning that was the very purpose for last Monday’s New Advisory; the reminder of how Secretary of State Galvin made a fool of himself in 1995 by announcing—at almost exactly this very point in the certification process and based entirely on this very same computer system’s numbers—that our Coalition for Payraise Repeal "did not have enough signatures to make it."

Despite Galvin’s premature decree, nonetheless our drivers went out and collected our petitions from every city and town clerk, we sat around at our adding machines late into the Tuesday evening before the deadline with the Secretary of State, and the next day we turned in 87,904 certified signatures -- 22,976 more than required.

"Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it," we reminded the State House news corps.

Let us look at what we know.

We know that Free the Pike called in all their petitions and counted all their raw signatures, according to one of its key coordinators, Harold Hubschman, before sending them out to the city and town clerks across the state. According to Harold, they turned in over 110,000 raw signatures for certification.

We did not call in all our raw signatures; we instructed all our petitioners to leave their completed petitions at the appropriate clerks’ offices when they were done, for us to pick up.

We do not know how many raw signatures were turned in for our petition.

According to the SoS/clerks computer system, from which we are getting the running totals, we know that, as of yesterday at 3:49 PM, Free the Pike had 64,156 certified signatures. 64,156 certified from the 110,000-plus raw signatures that Harold reports they submitted.

If the counting stopped here and now, that would be only a 58 percent certification rate—a record-breaking, incredibly low rate. Certification rates generally are in the 80-85 percent range, which is why we always shoot for more than the required number. Even an extremely low certification rate of 75 percent will give Free the Pike 82,500 certified signatures when the counting’s done -- 18,344 more than what is now shown on the state computer system.

This tells me that many of the clerks still have a long way to go before their jobs are done and we have the real totals.

We have a respectably broad "sample" -- 351 city and town clerks—so we can reasonably assume that the running total represents a relatively balanced proportion of certification among all petitions; that all petitions are at close to the same stage in the statewide process: All incomplete in the same proportion.

That being the case, and assuming that all the clerks complete their responsibilities on time by Monday at 5:00 PM, as required by law, then when all of the counting is done, even at a certification rate of only 75 percent, CLT&G should reach a total number of around 72,000 certified signatures—some 7,000 more than required.

Let’s see how close I come! (What a nice view out here on the limb!)

Chip Ford—

PS—We need two or three more adding machines *with tapes* for our final count on Monday and Tuesday, and could use a few more volunteers to help. If you have one we can borrow, or if you’re available to help, please call me on Friday at (508) 538-3900 or send me an e-mail message ASAP. (We will again be at the Newton Marriott, in Salon A, on Rte. 30 off Rte. 128 near the Mass. Pike junction, from 8:00 AM on Monday until we’re done counting on Tuesday evening.)

We’re also looking to borrow a video camera. If anyone has one they can loan us for Tuesday and Wednesday, when we deliver our petitions to the Secretary of State, also please call me at the above number tomorrow or e-mail me ASAP.

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