Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach on Monday unveiled a plan that would require counties to perform audits of voting equipment for all elections starting in 2017. The proposal would provide for a percentage of precincts or districts to be manually audited after election day election day and before the vote is certified by county officials. Kobach presented his bill to the House Elections Committee, calling it a “robust” plan that would allow for a broader audit if discrepancies were found. “It goes well beyond what most states do,” Kobach said. Kobach had come under fire when he turned down requests from Beth Clarkson, a Wichita State University statistician, to review Sedgwick County voting machine tapes from 2014. Clarkson said she had identified anomalies in election results.
Kobach said Kansas law prohibited such an audit but that he favored audits of election equipment. Under his proposal, bipartisan election boards would oversee the audits in a public setting, Kobach said.
Kobach noted that some machines, such as those in Johnson County, don’t provide “paper backup” for manual counting. As Johnson County replaces its machines in the coming months, officials should choose equipment that provides a backup paper trail, he said.