A Wichita State University mathematician is calling for the voting machines in Kansas to be audited after noticing odd patterns in electronic returns. This should be an easy request to fulfill for a system that should have nothing to hide, but government officials have been reluctant and elusive in revealing public documents to satisfy this concern.
Beth Clarkson is a certified quality engineer with a doctorate in statistics. She is also the chief statistician for WSU’s National Institute for Aviation Research. While making calculations after the November election, Clarkson revealed that there were enough patterns to raise suspicion that “some voting systems are being sabotaged.” Clarkson said that the patterns indicate “a statistically significant” pattern where the percentage of Republican votes increase according to how large a precinct is – even in areas where other demographics suggest differently. Clarkson said:
“This is not just an anomaly that occurred in one place. It is a pattern that has occurred repeatedly in elections across the United States. I do not know why this trend is there, but I know that the pattern is there and one way to establish that it is or is not election fraud is to go and do a physical audit of paper records of voting machines.”
The county’s behavior toward Clarkson’s suspicions might indicate that she’s right. So far Clarkson has been put off, with Sedgwick County election officials refusing to allow the computer records to be included in a recount. The officials even told Clarkson that if she wanted to get documentation of the votes, she would have to take them to court – so she did. Clarkson filed a lawsuit against against the Sedgwick County Election Office and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach in February to get to the bottom of this issue, requesting access to the paper records of the voting machines. On these records, only the votes are counted – the voter is left anonymous.
Sedgwick County’s paper recording system is called the Real Time Voting Machine Paper Tapes, which is a software that is not used by other Kansas electronic voting machines or similar machines in other states. Pamela Smith, president of non-profit Verified Voting Foundation, explained that this particular software is proprietary, which prevents election officials from examining it and makes post-election audits out of the question.
The hardships Clarkson has faced this year in trying to get these machines audited are just the latest in a long list of technicalities and lack of cooperation from Sedgwick County. In 2013, Clarkson had asked the county to do a recount, but she couldn’t file for it because the time had expired. Instead she filed an open records request, but officials would not comply. When she filed a lawsuit, the judge insisted that the paper records were ballots despite the fact that the voter would not have been identified. This made the records ineligible to Kansas’ open records law. Clarkson was denied access once again when she filed for a recount following the November election. County officials told the statistician that the records could only be released by a judge.
Clarkson’s most recent lawsuit (filed in February) is against the state’s attorney general, the County election commissioner and Kobach. The lawsuit only requests access to voting records so that an audit can be done on the voting machines and once again, Clarkson’s requests were ignored. She had sent the summons to both the Sedgwick County election commissioner and Kobach, who had 30 days to respond under state law. Neither responded and said they didn’t receive the summons. Eric Rucker, assistant secretary of state, said: “I don’t know if we did or not. We are not going to comment on the status or the nature of this litigation at this time.”
Clarkson is baffled by the reluctant attitude she has faced in trying to do the right thing and make sure that votes were being counted accurately. She said: “I really did not expect to have a lot of problems getting these (records).”
At this point, you have to wonder…what are they hiding? Given how Republicans across the country are busy passing “voter registration laws” to combat all the “fraud” that has been shown not to exist, it would follow that it’s a classic smoke-and-mirrors tactic to divert attention away from the fraud that they’ve been perpetrating the whole time- whether through gerrymandering or questionable voting machines.
Featured image courtesy of Wichita Eagle.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.