Wichita State University’s Beth Clarkson (who is also chief statistician of WSU’s National Institute for Aviation Research) discovered “odd patterns” in Kansas electoral voting records, so she requested public docs to help her get to the bottom of things — requests that state officials ignored, dodged, and stalled.
Clarkson’s analysis of results from November 2014’s election indicated that some machines had been “sabotaged,” so she requested the suspect machines’ paper-audit tapes (which do not record how each voter voted, merely timestamped votes with associated metadata); the election officials of Sedgwick County told her she’d have to sue them to gain access to them.
The voting machines that Sedgwick County uses have a paper record of the votes, known as Real Time Voting Machine Paper Tapes, which similar machines in Kansas and around the country do not have. Because the software is proprietary, even elections officials can’t examine it and postelection audits can’t be done, according to Pamela Smith, president of Verified Voting Foundation, a nonprofit agency whose mission is to safeguard elections in the digital age.
Clarkson asked Sedgwick County to do a recount in 2013 but the time to file had expired. She then filed an open records request, but officials refused to provide the requested documents. She filed a lawsuit but the judge said the paper records were ballots, even though they didn’t identify the voter, and thus were not subject to the state’s open records law.
Wichita State mathematician says Kansas voting machines need audit [AP/Wichita Eagle]