Appeals judges strongly questioned Tuesday whether there’s a legitimate legal question for them to decide in Wichita statistician Beth Clarkson’s quest to use audit tapes to test the accuracy of voting machines. But the case could lead to an effort to change state law to make it easier for citizens to do accuracy tests on election equipment. Clarkson, a statistician at Wichita State University, is asking the judges to order a recount of votes on ballot questions in the 2014 election, using the paper tapes generated by voting machines as voters cast their ballots. At a Court of Appeals hearing Tuesday in Wichita, the lead judge on the three-judge panel repeatedly pressed Clarkson’s lawyer, former U.S. Attorney Randy Rathbun, about whether a recount would have any effect, since the election was settled years ago.
“The election result in all four contests have been certified,” said Judge G. Gordon Atcheson. “The results of those can’t be undone now. Why are we even thinking about this?”
Rathbun said that Clarkson, as a voter has an “absolute right to ask for a recount. The controversy is a controversy over whether electronic voting machines are accurate,” he said.
Clarkson has said her statistical analyses of elections over several years have shown discrepancies indicating vote tampering. While she wouldn’t be able to look at the voting machine tapes herself, a hand recount by an election board would give her the data to prove or dismiss her suspicions.