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Published June 2015 | public
Journal Article

Where the good signatures are: Signature collection and initiative qualification in California


Using data from eight recent California initiatives and data provided by the California Secretary of State's Office, this research explores the geographic source of signatures and their distribution across counties, investigates both total signatures and valid signatures, and presents a regression analysis to study how characteristics of counties relate to the number of signatures gathered. The findings indicate a high rate of equity in the distribution of signature gathering and little demographic targeting across measures. The study also finds that a variety of social and political factors influence the number of total and valid signatures across counties, though the results are more consistent for the former.

Additional Information

© 2014 Published by Elsevier Inc. on behalf of Western Social Science Association. Received 26 April 2013; Received in revised form 4 June 2014; Accepted 4 June 2014; Available online 29 June 2014. We wish to thank Alex Chang for his assistance with data collection and Shaun Bowler for his comments on earlier versions of this research. We also thank John Mott-Smith and the California Secretary of State's Office for providing us access to the data we use in this paper.

Additional details

August 22, 2023
October 23, 2023