A Replication of My Work.

Mr. Brian Amos, Ph.D. candidate at the University of Florida was dedicated enough to replicate some of my work and acknowledge that he gets the same results I reported.

He does have a few disagreements with my approach. For example, what he describes as a nitpick, I would respond with: That’s a feature, not a bug! My choice of limiting an analysis to the precincts with more than 500 votes cast results in what he considers an overemphasis on the effect I’m am concerned with. This is absolutely true. That particular analysis was designed to draw out that effect and make it more apparent. The vote share data is very noisy and impacted by many different factors. The trend is real, but is easily missed in the inherent noise of the larger dataset.

Wichita 2014 Election Results
Wichita 2014 Election Results

Mr. Ames wonders if some other, correlated factor such as the voter registration numbers, would display a similar trend in the cumulative chart. He shows this is true for the share of Republicans in this particular data set. But this is not a universally correlated trait across the different states where such trends have been found, and it was not enough in Sedgwick County Kansas to account for the difference in vote share.

I discuss this factor at more length in my recently published paper “Audits of Paper Records to Verify Electronic Voting Machine Tabulated Results” in the Summer 2016 issue of The Kansas Journal of Law and Public Policy. The graph displayed above is from that paper, illustrating that although there is an upswing the cumulative graph for share of Republicans, it is much smaller than the upward surge of the vote share for various republican candidates in 2014.

His parting comment “While the charts may be explainable through vote fraud, there are other, perfectly innocuous explanations that can be put forward, as well.” is true. Yes, there are other possible and innocuous explanations. Statistical analysis only illuminates correlations and other relationships. Further investigation is needed to determine cause. Just because the trend is a predicted sign of election fraud does not mean election fraud occurred.

The only way to tell if our machine tabulated vote count is accurate or undermined is to conduct a proper audit. That’s never been done here in Sedgwick County. I’ve requested access to do this as a voter and been denied. I filed the proper paperwork in a timely manner asking for a recount of those records after the 2014 election and was denied. I’ve sued for access as an academic researcher and been denied.

Why should I trust a vote count that our officials will not allow to be publicly verified? Why should anyone?

Voting Equipment on the Agenda: The Sedgwick County Bid Board Meeting July 7, 2016

After hearing nothing from the elections office regarding the purchase of new voting equipment since their demonstration of the equipment in February, yesterday afternoon I got notice of a bid board meeting this morning at 10:00. As it happened, I was able to take time off work and attend.

The Voting System RFP (15-0078) was only agenda item. It was perfunctory except for my presence – I asked inappropriate questions. Despite my previous requests to the elections office, I was never notified of any of committee meetings when the responses to the RFP were evaluated. I did not know that they were recommending Election Systems & Software until I attended this meeting. There was a handout listing the various vendors and costs associated with them with and their indicated which they recommended.

One commissioner asked about why not “Everyone Counts, Inc.” which had a lower total cost indicated on the information hand-out they had provided. Tabitha answered saying that system did not meet their basic security requirements and was eliminated for that reason. Their final recommendation was based on an overall score, but neither the scoring criteria nor the relative scores of the competing company were included in the handout.

She was asked about the numbers on the handout, which were not self-explanatory with regard to the totals. Additional information on the number of machines to be purchased was needed to make sense of the totals. She mentioned that one reason they choice ES&S was they willing to buy back our current voting machines. Otherwise, the elections office would have to pay to have them removed because there are security concerns regarding their disposal.

I asked what the cost of using voter marked hand counted paper ballots would be. Ms. Lehman laughed at my question and said she had no idea, they had not bothered to even compute the cost for a comparison. [I had requested that she consider that option when I wrote her months ago offering my services and expertise for that committee.] She indicated that she did not consider hand counting acceptable due to how long it would take, saying that CA was still counting their primary from June 7th. [The Brexit vote was hand counted using voter marked paper ballots and results were available by the next morning.]

I then asked Ms. Lehman why I wasn’t informed of the committee meeting where the recommendations were decided. I was told that was an inappropriate place to ask such questions. I could ask next Wed. at County Commissioner meeting. Personally, I don’t think that would be an appropriate venue either and not the best use of whatever time I will be allowed. I’ll just conclude that she didn’t want me on her committee and was not required to allow the public to attend those meetings.

A commissioner then complimented her on the analysis and the combined expertise of people on committee. [There are no members of that committee listed as having expertise in Quality Assurance, one of my specialties.] The meeting was over at 10:15. The recommendation was accepted and it will be on the agenda for the next county commissioner meeting. I will be there. I’ve requested a copy of the scoring criteria and results. Hopefully, I will be able to ask better questions at the meeting next week.

I would encourage anyone in Wichita free next Wednesday to attend the meeting and let our county commissioners know how dissatisfied we are with our current equipment and how concerned we are about the security and reliability of the proposed new voting equipment.