The House Elections Committee is scheduled to vote Monday on legislation mandating precinct election results be posted online and clarifying sponsorship of candidate advertisements. The Kansas secretary of state’s office stopped publishing precinct level voting data on their website in 2014. The data remains accessible through the Kansas Open Records Act, but only by request. Bryan Caskey, director of elections for Secretary of State Kris Kobach, cited formatting and privacy concerns for the lack of online reporting of that precinct voting. Much of the data comes to the office in a non-user-friendly format. “Votes cast are a public record,” Caskey said. “However, if a person obtains the list of registered voters, which has the precinct that they’re in, and obtains precinct-level results, pretty quickly you can determine how people cast in small precincts.”
Peter Karman, a Douglas County resident, spent several months researching precinct elections results in Kansas and concluded that data ought to be publicly accessible online. In his testimony to the House committee, he recommended changes to House Bill 2604.
Karman raised questions about the bill because it lacks a direct time frame in which precinct voting should be posted, doesn’t include precinct results in national elections, and is vague regarding the format in which the data would be published.
“It is vital to the accessibility and usability of the data that these election results be published in the kind of open format that preserves the digital data in its native form,” Karman said.