Why should they “show me the votes?” Because, as citizens, we all have the right to make sure our votes count and are counted.
Electronic voting machines are so ripe for exploitation that it’s difficult to believe that someone, somewhere hasn’t tried to tamper with things for their own benefit.
This is not a Red/Blue issue, or a Republicans vs. Democrats issue; this is about preserving our democracy.
Some Kansans appear to see my research into the integrity of our electronic voting machines as an attack on Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state, and on Tabitha Lehman, the Sedgwick County election commissioner. Others appear to see my statistical analysis of voting results in 2014 as an attempt to overturn that year’s elections. Neither of these perceptions is correct.
True, my research raises alarming questions about the accuracy of the 2014 vote count in Sedgwick County and other venues across Kansas. But it does not suggest that Kobach, the state’s chief election overseer, or Lehman, his local representative, manipulated election results to the benefit of Gov. Sam Brownback and other successful Republican candidates in 2014.
What my research suggests – but does not prove – is far worse: that fraud via manipulation of the software that runs on voting machines here, across Kansas and across the nation may be occurring.
But this software is proprietary – inaccessible to researchers. And Kansas law makes no provision for auditing election results for accuracy.
If I could gain access to the paper tapes, I could conduct what amounts to an audit. But these records are classified as ballots. State law exempts ballots from the open records act. That is why I filed a lawsuit – it is the only way to get a judge’s order allowing me to access those records.
Access to a statistically valid sample of the paper tapes could affirm the existence of election fraud. If the audit results are consistently off from the tabulated totals in one direction, we can conclude that the voting machines were sabotaged and the election results altered. Conversely, if no bias in errors is found, then we can conclude that rigging of voting machines after the votes are cast is not the cause of the pattern in the data. We still gain a better understanding of how well the machines work and the precision of the system as a whole by documenting the empirical mean and standard deviation of the errors.
Kobach has resisted my efforts to gain access to the tapes, while disparaging my research efforts. I can understand why – nobody enjoys being audited. But audits are important. It is the verify portion of “trust but verify.” His resistance is a disservice to all Kansans, be they Republicans, Democrats or independents. If he were to support my research, my success in the courtroom would be assured.
Why am I pursuing this quest in the face of official opposition? Sedgwick County is my home. I was born here and have lived here all my life. I simply cannot look at the evidence of election fraud and not demand to know, with better transparency, how well our voting machines are tabulating our votes.
Kansans deserve to know their votes are recorded accurately and that election results are honest. As it stands, the voters in Sedgwick County have no such certainty. We are expected to trust the voting machines without any verification of the vote counts they produce.
Readers who want a more nuanced understanding of my methods and research results will find more information here.
11 thoughts on “FAQ”
Thank you for all of the important work.
I hope the support for this issue comes pouring in.
Glad to know you’re still moving forward.
If they have nothing to hide, why hide it?
An audit could restore confidence in our democratic process. It is not healthy for democracy when people do not trust their elections.
I had a radio interview yesterday and one of things I stressed was the lack of transparency in the process was more disturbing that the unexplained pattern.
Thank you so much for your perseverance.
The fundamental flaw in your methodology is that you are using the number of votes cast in a precinct as a measure of size, rather than the number of registered voters.
In 2014, in Sedgwick County, Republican-leaning precincts had higher turnout (% of registered voters). If two precincts had 1500 registered voters, a 50% Republican precinct might have 60% turnout (900 votes) and be perhaps 60% for Roberts, while a 30% Republican precinct might have a 40% turnout (600 votes) and be perhaps 40% for Roberts.
If you accumulate the vote in order of votes cast, the more Republican-leaning precincts will be shifted to later in the count. If you accumulate the vote in order of registered voters, that won’t happen.
From the Sedgwick County elections website, download the results of the November 2014 gubernatorial election, as well as the number of registered voters, and votes cast in each precinct.
Accumulate the Roberts’ share of the vote for the following precinct orders:
(1) Alphabetical (with the numeric precincts in Wichita first).
(2) Random (multiple trials if you like).
(3) Ordered by votes cast (the method you have employed).
(4) Ordered by number of registered voters (the method you should have used).
I must admit that I haven’t had precinct level data on demographics available (I’m working on it), so it’s possible that such factors may explain the patterns in the data. Or the other hand, at the county level, the data I’ve looked at, such factors only explain a portion of the trend.
However, if you are correct, and all these patterns (which are consistent across different states and elections while showing similarities by voting machine type) are explainable in such a manner. At this point, I consider the fact that our voting machines in Sedgwick County have never been audited or checked for accuracy after an election to be very concerning. Without such an audit, we do not know whether the votes have been counted accurately. IMO, that’s a serious problem and my lawsuit at least illuminates that issue even if I never get access to the paper audit trail.
Thank you math lady!
Can you send me an e-mail with a mailing address and some sort of proof of your 501 c.3 status? I want to make a donation through a Community Foundation. I enjoyed your LWF presentation. Thanks for all you are doing.
Thank you. I send or post something when I get a chance. Most likely be this week-end though.
I don’t know if this will help but I have sent the following note. As I get time I will send a similar note to a variety of news sources that I read. I don’t know if it will help but it can’t hurt and might bring some attention to the issue – not just in Kansas but nationwide.
This note is in response to a recent article you ran regarding Kansas and their voting laws (link below).
I have been following the efforts of a Dr Beth Clarkson – a Kansas resident and a professional statistician and an ASQ Certified Quality Engineer. She has been endeavoring to access (for more than 3 years) the paper and electronic records that would allow her to assess how accurate our computer tabulated official vote counts are. The electronic voting machines that are used by many jurisdictions are “closed” systems. That is, the software that runs them is not open source (which would allow people to determine the quality of the code that drives the machines). Furthermore, many jurisdictions, like Kansas, do not allow access to post-election anonymous voting tapes that might be used to verify or audit election results using statistical methodologies. In fact, the terms of contracts relating to the selection and purchase of voting machines do not require an independent examination of source code or include a mechanism to validate the accuracy of the machines. This is understandable as many of the points raised here are of a technical nature and frankly the pace of technological change has out stripped our ability to manage the change and insure the devices we use are doing the job. However, we do have an expectation in this country that election results are fair and impartial and anonymous.
This information may or may not be of interest to you. However, this is the year of a presidential election. In Kansas, our entire legislature is up for election. Locally, our governor stresses that he runs a transparent government. While not directly accountable for the roadblocks that Dr Beth Clarkson has encountered in securing the data she needs to validate her hypotheses he certainly hasn’t been a big supporter of such a request. Neither has Kris Kobach – our Secretary of State. Her web site – which has a lot more information that I can provide – is http://showmethevotes.org/
Your article – which is why I am writing this note is http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/news/a43533/kobach-voter-suppression-federal-level/.