Monday, May 18, 2020

The $5.5 Billion Stem Cell Count: A Bright Spot and a Not-So-Bright Spot

The effort to save the $3 billion California stem cell agency from financial extinction received some bad news and some good news late today, both of which could be expected. 

At stake is whether a $5.5 billion bond measure will be placed on the November ballot. The funds would be used to refinance the agency, which is running out of money and will begin closing its doors beginning next fall without an infusion of cash.

Qualifying the measure for the ballot requires 623,212 valid signatures of registered voters.  

Late today, the updated count of "raw," unvalidated signatures rose to 917,222 from 824,777 last Friday. The campaign for the ballot initiative has said it submitted 925,000 signatures to county election officials. Only one county, San Mateo, has not yet completed its raw count. 

The bad news is that the interim percentage of invalid signatures now stands at 24 percent, up from 18 percent. It is common to see large percentages of signatures disqualified during the verification process, sometimes as high as 50 percent. 

Today's rate rose because Sacramento reported that it disqualified 25.2 percent of the 35,792 raw signatures turned in by the campaign, The statewide rate will change as more counties report their validation numbers.

If campaign has actually submitted 925,000 signatures, it will need a disqualification rate statewide of no more than 32.6 percent to reach the required number. 

County officials have until June 24 to complete their validation of signatures and submit the figures to the state. 

Look for an update on the signature count Tuesday evening or early Wednesday right here on the California Stem Cell Report. 

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