A mathematician at Wichita State University who wanted to check the accuracy of some Kansas voting machines after finding odd patterns in election returns said she is finding out how difficult it can be to get government officials to turn over public documents. Beth Clarkson, a certified quality engineer with a doctorate in statistics, said her calculations from the November election showed enough patterns to suspect that “some voting systems were being sabotaged.” Sedgwick County election officials refused to allow the computer records to be part of a recount and told her that to get paper recordings of votes, she would have to go to court and fight for them, said Clarkson, who is also the chief statistician for WSU’s National Institute for Aviation Research.
She filed a lawsuit against the Sedgwick County Election Office and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach earlier this year, asking for access to the paper records that voting machines record each time someone votes. The record does not identify the voter.
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.