Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sen Wilkerson's "3,000" Signatures & More

On the surface of this article, it looks like there's some good news for Senator Wilkerson: she's "not taking any chances," and has 10x the necessary signatures, over 3,000 that she turned in (more on that next paragraph). While that certainly sounds good, doesn't the Globe emphasizing it just remind voters she was so incompetent as to forget to get her signatures last time? It's not as if she turned in her signatures last cycle, thinking she had enough, only to fall just behind - like this candidate did. Note to the Wilkerson Campaign: Get better messaging people.

Sadly, it actually gets worse. Today's Globe article certainly played up the 3,000 number, making it seem like Wilkerson has incredible momentum. Yet, as David's reporting on BlueMassGroup, Wilkerson has her own new embarrassment this year. Boy, did she need those 3,000 signatures! (Emphasis mine.)
And yet, the South End News now says that of those 3,000, only 428 were certified by the Secretary of State's office -- more than the required 300, but only a 14% success rate.

How is that even possible? I've been involved in a lot of campaigns; I've never seen that many signatures rejected, never mind the proportion (!!). Did someone just take a bunch of papers and write up 2,500 fake names on them, or something? What the heck happened?

And why was the Globe so lazy as to print their Wilkerson Roxers article the very same day that the South End News unearthed the horrendous 14% success rate? What say ye, the Paper of Record?

Also, a bit off topic, but there's a weird casino quote from Wilkerson in the Globe, from one or her debates with Chang-Diaz.
Wilkerson, however, said: "I don't consider it courage at all. . . . It doesn't matter how many jobs [are created], if you do not have a car you will not be working at a casino."
I'll assume the Globe left something out, because it certainly sounds a bit strange, but I applaud the Senator nonetheless for being so vehemently against casinos (as I do Chang-Diaz, who's also against them).

Kudos for both candidates engaging in this many debates. Both women are incredibly great on the issues, so this election really comes down to what people value more: Wilkerson's time accrued in office (and all the perks that come with it) versus Chang-Diaz's clean-government message.

Full disclosure: I'm not involved in this race and haven't endorsed any candidates. That said, Chang-Diaz has been a guest on LeftAhead, which I co host weekly. Senator Wilkerson is more than welcome to come on anytime.

Update: Apparently, cities and towns only need to certify up to 140% of the signatures necessary to get on a ballot. So it's very likely that Wilkerson really did have something close to 3,000 signatures, we'll just never know quite how many for sure. If anyone has any more information, please contact me.


Wayland Bob said...

Dude, how embarrassing for you. Especially after your chest thumping post on BMG.

Ryan Adams said...

Embarrassing? How? I didn't know critical information before the post, and updated my post to reflect the new things that I learned after. That's nothing to be ashamed of, it's called good journalism practice.

It also further illustrates my point that the Globe story should have been far more in depth. They could have addressed both the 428 instead of 3k issue, while also discussing state law that could explain the situation. They also could have likely found the definitive answer as to what happened with one call to the town hall, or even the campaign. All of this could have been finished in time for the same print article.

Embarrassing - not.

SouthieJim said...

Ha! What the Paper of Record says is "we were right."

Now to be fair to the South End News, they're not the ones making a big deal about the alleged "14% success rate." That was you, and BMG, and Universal Hub. Citizen journalism at its finest.

However, the South End News doesn't get off that lightly. Their reporting was certainly misleading and misinformed. They made a big deal out of the fact that only 428 of Wilkerson's signatures were certified, as if that was somehow relevant. (Even gleefully noting that it was only one more signature than her opponent.) They left the clear impression that they had uncovered more to the story than the Globe, and through inuendo left the impression that something was wrong with the vast majority of Wilkerson's signatures. Bloggers jumped off that cliff like lemmings.

Turns out, of course, that there's nothing whatsoever wrong with Wilkerson's signatures. 428 happens to be the point at which the Secretary of State's office decided she had met the ballot requirement and stopped counting.

The South End News STILL hasn't corrected its story, which says a lot about the kind of news organization it is.

WaylandBob said...

Since when does writting a snarky post when you "didn't know critical information" equal "good journalism practice."

Good journalism practice would have been to FIND OUT before you wrote the post.

You are not a journalist. You only play one. You are a blogger, and the fact that you claim not to be embarrassed about what you wrote says everything that needs to be said about the difference between the two.

Ryan Adams said...

Since when did I ever suggest

"writing a snarky post when you "didn't know critical information" equal "good journalism practice.""

Heck, I wasn't even being snarky!

The good journalism practice came into play when I CORRECTED the story. We all make mistakes; none of us can know everything all of the time and this was only one tiny aspect of my entire blog.

Don't be an arse; I have no horses in this race. If I get a bunch of crazy Wilkerson zealots being rude on my blog, it may just be enough to make me get involved. I swear, people don't know how to help themselves from hurting their own candidate. Here's a tip: the best thing to do, the vast majority of the time, is to let it go. I say that as someone who's a far better campaigner than citizen journalist.

Peter Porcupine said...

Ryan - here's the real question, and I guarantee you will never get an answer.

I've done signatures for both House and Senate (even for myself!). You take the papers to the town clerk. The town clerk certifies the signaures. Typically, you lose ten out of thirty, for being wrong party, not properly registered, etc. However, when you add up your sheets, YOU know that of the 1,000 'raw' signatures, 640 were certfied as good. You then take your signatures to the Elections Division, and THEY keep going until you hit the 150, 300 or whatever the threshhold is. Then, they certify you. If your signatures are challanged, and you might dip below the number, you can substitute ANOTHER sheet, provided it was certified and date stamped by a town clerk before the filing deadline.

So those surplus sheets are important.

Which makes me think Wilkerson knows EACTLY how many bona fide signatures she has out of the 3,000, as Chang-Diaz is likely to contest some of her sheets.

Now, getting the Senator to TELL you how many CERTIFIED signatures she actually has is pretty impossible - but her campaign, if it's worth anything at all, knows the answer.

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