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Picking up pace

Some weeks ago we dinged on the independent Ben Westlund campaign for its case of the slows in doing the single most essential thing it must do right now: Gather enough valid petition signatures to win a spot on the November general election ballot.

It wasn’t doing that, at least not nearly enough, for quite a while. Now, apparently, it is.

Back on June 12 we posted this:

On one (key) level, it’s a matter of math. The ballot status requirement is 18,364 valid (”perfected”) petition signatures delivered by August 29 to the secretary of state’s office. 119 days have passed since Westlund’s announcement, and the campaign’s Stacey Dycus wrote us today that 4,585 signatures have been collected. 78 days are left to collect the remaining 13,779 valid signatures – assuming every signature collected to date is valid (never, of course, a safe assumption).

Put it this way: The Westlund campaign has collected about 39 signatures a day since its launch announcement; it will have to increase that to 177 a day, every day, from here to the end of August – again, assuming every signature is valid – to make the ballot. It will have to more than quadruple its pace, as we head into the summer doldrums and interest in politics tends to slip.

That constituted a problem as we and the folks over at Loaded Orygun were noticing. Now, the campaign in fact seems to be picking up pace.

Westlund thermometerIn the month since that above-noted signature count, the campaign has gathered 8,136 signatures, for a total of 12,721. If the campaign continues the same pace over the next 50 or so days remaining until the deadline, it will have collected about 26,200 signatures, which probably (if they’re using care in the collection) would be enough to win a spot on the ballot.

So their odds are improving – if they can keep up the new pace they’ve set.

And if they’re very careful about the signatures. For most election petitions, just about any qualified registered voter is eligible to signs, but in the case of an independent candidate for governor, that’s not true: Other requirements too have to be met, and where they aren’t, names get stricken. That’s why the Westlund campaign originally set up a 30,000-signature goal. Are the paid signature-gatherers being as meticulous as they should be under the circumstances?

So we’re not necessarily saying just yet that Westlund is headed to the ballot. But at least his campaign now has made a horse race out of the proposition.

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