Continued from page 1

He said a few employees are working an extra hour or two each day and are making good progress.

“We’re working on them just fine,” he said. “We have 20 days to do it and we fully expect to get them done.”

The process might sound tedious but elections officials give the petitions far more than a casual glance, typically throwing out thousands of signatures due to minor mistakes and omissions.

All signatures must come from registered voters and be accompanied by the signing date as well as the signer’s full name, permanent address and date of birth as they appear on voter records.

Signatures are often voided for reasons such as an outdated address, omitted signing date, forgotten middle initial or the use of a nickname rather than birth name.

Last year, officials voided nearly 1 of every 6 signatures on a petition against the Dream Act — a law that would let many college-age illegal immigrants pay in-state tuition.

About 24,000 of 132,000 signatures were rejected, but organizers still met their goal of getting the law on this November’s ballot.

The gay marriage petition has fared far better, with officials rejecting just 4,272 signatures compared with the more than 70,000 they have approved.

Delegate Neil C. Parrott, who is leading the petition effort against the congressional district map, said he thinks the state’s requirements are a little strict and that officials should acknowledge the signer’s intent rather than looking for technicalities.

However, he said petitioners have learned to work within the guidelines and spot potential errors.

“They are very stringent,” said Mr. Parrott, Washington Republican. “But as a collector, we know what to look for so that makes for a much better process.”