A Wichita statistician skeptical of electronic voting security endorsed Tuesday a recommendation by the Kansas secretary of state to allow post-election audits to determine whether mistakes or fraud occurred on Election Day. Elizabeth Clarkson, chief statistician at the National Institute for Aviation Research affiliated with Wichita State University, told the Topeka-Shawnee County League of Women Voters the conversation might be moving in the right direction with Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s proposal to amend state law to enable auditing of ballots. “I’m very pleased to see Kris Kobach propose legislation,” she said. “We do need post-election audits. Without them we don’t have transparency in our voting system.”
Clarkson had filed a lawsuit in Sedgwick County District Court in a bid to overcome an exemption for ballots in the Kansas Open Records Act. She sought hard copies of voting records to check the error rate by voting machines.
Kobach, the state’s top election official, said state law prohibited release of voting machine tapes targeted by Clarkson. Under a recommendation Kobach submitted to the House Elections Committee, counties would begin audits of voting equipment in 2017. Audits by bipartisan election boards would occur in public between Election Day and certification of results by county officials.
In the presentation in Topeka, Clarkson said voting machines relied upon in Kansas and other states lacked necessary sophistication to thwart sabotage. Some of the equipment appears to be a hacker’s paradise, she said.