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Member since: Thu Jul 29, 2004, 03:51 PM
Number of posts: 458

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Kansas judge bars Wichita mathematician's access to voting machine tapes -- UPDATE Mar. 2

Beth Clarkson wants to examine the tapes for evidence of possible fraud or malfunction
Posted: February 19, 2016 - 1:58pm

from the article:

By The Associated Press

WICHITA — A judge denied a Wichita mathematician’s request for access to paper voting machine tapes from the 2014 election that she wants to examine for evidence of possible fraud or malfunctioning.

Sedgwick County Judge Tim Lahey ruled Thursday that he couldn’t order county officials to turn over the tapes to Beth Clarkson because she presented the same argument in a previous lawsuit she lost. He denied a motion by the county’s election commissioner, Tabitha Lehman, to dismiss Clarkson’s open records case, but it was a hollow victory, since the point of the lawsuit was to check the accuracy of the voting machines, the Wichita Eagle (http://bit.ly/20INeCo ).

More than 100 people, most of them voting rights supporters, packed the courtroom to watch the proceedings.

The judge told Clarkson’s attorney, Randy Rathbun, that he couldn’t order the county to turn over the tapes the law prohibits litigating the same legal issue, by the same parties, twice.

more at the link:

(Reposted from Kansas forum)


Beth Clarkson's Feb. 29 newsletter describes what the next steps are, now that Judge Tim Lahey has ruled she can't look at the audit log tapes.


from her post:

"I went to Topeka twice last month, I spoke to a rather large crowd at the request of the League of Women Voters on the 2nd, and on the 15th to the Kansas House Elections Committee on new legislation requiring audits of our voting equipment after every election.

There was my hearing on the 18th. The outcome was disappointing to say the least. No trial next month. An appeal will be filed instead. But the people that came were awesome. People I had never met handed me buttons saying "Show Me The Votes" and bumper stickers like one adorning this message. There were a lot of people there!

On the 19th, I was back in NE Kansas, giving a talk at the KU Law School Symposium on election law and voting rights. I'm afraid I may have inadvertently horrified some of people there. Without thinking about it, just giving my honest reading of some of my data analysis charts, I basically implied that our Governor did not win reelection honestly.

Finally, having given the matter a great deal of thought, I have a few ideas about what to do next. Best idea I've got: If the folks who were caring enough to attend my hearing are willing to put in a few hours of volunteer time on election day, we could perform a citizens exit poll in November."

Beth Clarkson hearing Feb. 18th -- a hollow victory


Post from Beth Clarkson re: today's hearing:

It was amazing and disappointing. It was amazing to see how many people came. The room was packed, standing room only and I heard there were additional people outside the room looking in. This is clearly a problem that has attracted people's attention.

The judge even denied the plaintiffs motion and we can proceed to trial next month. But he gutted it of all meaning by instructing us that while I could sue for a recount, I could not use the R.T.A.L. records to conduct that recount.

R.T.A.L. records are the Real Time Audit Logs I have been seeking. That's a picture of a blank roll above. To conduct an audit and verify the machine produced counts, these rolls of paper must be unfurled and manually inspected to determine the votes. It's a lot of work, but without using these records, a recount or audit is just theater. It will produce no assurances that our votes are counted as they were cast.

I am deeply disappointed. My lawyer, Randy Rathbun, has promised to file an appeal immediately. He deserves recognition for all the hard work he's done - pro bono! I'll keep you posted about new developments.



This is an infuriating outcome. I hope the appeal is successful.

Beth Clarkson update Feb. 18, 1:30 hearing for summary judgment

From her 1/26/16 newsletter:

Hearing for summary judgment at 1:30 on Feb 18 at the Sedgwick County Courthouse

A motion for summary judgement has been filed by the plaintiff on my lawsuit. If granted, this would destroy my chances of getting access to the paper records.It would be a loss before I even have a chance to present my case in a trial.

My lawyer tells me it is a public hearing, so I can use your support. By being there to support me, you will let the judge know I am not alone. The citizens of Sedgwick county support my request to verify the accuracy of the voting machine paper records.

For those of you with the ability to be there, thank you very much for your support.

Beth Clarkson

These quotes from a post by Cory Doctorow provide background on Beth Clarkson:

"Wichita State University's Beth Clarkson (who is also chief statistician
of WSU's National Institute for Aviation Research) discovered "odd
patterns" in Kansas electoral voting records, so she requested public
docs to help her get to the bottom of things -- requests that state
officials ignored, dodged, and stalled.

Clarkson's analysis of results from November 2014's election indicated
that some machines had been "sabotaged," so she requested the suspect
machines' paper-audit tapes (which do not record how each voter voted,
merely timestamped votes with associated metadata); the election
officials of Sedgwick County told her she'd have to sue them to gain
access to them."

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