A Wichita State University mathematician sued the top Kansas election official Wednesday seeking paper tapes from electronic voting machines, an effort to explain statistical anomalies favoring Republicans in counts coming from large precincts across the country. Beth Clarkson, chief statistician for the university’s National Institute for Aviation Research, filed the open records lawsuit in Sedgwick County District Court as part of her personal quest to find the answer to an unexplained pattern that transcends elections and states. The lawsuit was amended Wednesday to name Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Sedgwick County Elections Commissioner Tabitha Lehman.
Clarkson, a certified quality engineer with a Ph.D. in statistics, has analyzed election returns in Kansas and elsewhere over several elections that indicate “a statistically significant” pattern where the percentage of Republican votes increase the larger the size of the precinct.
While it is well-recognized that smaller, rural precincts tend to lean Republican, statisticians have been unable to explain the consistent pattern favoring the Republicans that trends upward as the number of votes cast in a precinct or other voting unit goes up. In primaries, the favored candidate appears to always be the Republican establishment candidate, above a tea party challenger. And the upward trend for Republicans occurs once a voting unit reaches roughly 500 votes.
“This is not just an anomaly that occurred in one place,” Clarkson said. “It is a pattern that has occurred repeatedly in elections across the United States.”
The pattern could be voter fraud or a demographic trend that has not been picked up by extensive polling, she said.