On July 20, IVN reported on Dr. Beth Clarkson's work, alleging voting machine tampering in three states.
Interest in this case has definitely grown, with more news sites and groups taking up the story and calling for the Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to audit the election results.
I had the opportunity to talk to Dr. Clarkson by telephone this past week, to discuss her thoughts and ultimate goals of this case, and I was truly amazed by both the complexity and the amount of evidence that is being ignored by both the population at large and the state government.
Red FlagsFrom the very beginning of this case, there have been multiple red flags that should have cast suspicion on the outcome of the election, including:
- Sedgwick County's (one of the largest Kansas counties) computer system crashed for one hour, after which the voting patterns were positively skewed towards the Republican candidates;
- Johnson County (the largest county) sat at 1% precinct reporting for most of the night, then spontaneously went to 99% in less than one minute overwhelmingly deciding the election;
- Republicans were able to buck the trend of doing proportionately better in the urban areas, something that typically does not happen in Kansas;
- A "u-shaped" distribution curve on voter turnout versus voting patterns--Republicans did the best in areas with the highest turnout (historically unusual);
- Non-normalized exit poll data was off by over 12 percent--highly unusual in key races;
- A refusal by the state to release precinct data.
None of these red flags prove tampering, but none of them have been addressed at any level--no one is bothering to even question why the computers in Sedgwick County suddenly crashed during a key election.
When I asked Dr. Clarkson about what kind of "smoking gun" would be necessary to convince people, her answer surprised me.
She said a "smoking gun" was not a good analogy, even though several have used it. Instead, what we need is "ballistic testing," which would come from a full audit of the paper records. No amount of circumstantial evidence will convince people, an audit is the "only kind of evidence that people will pay attention to."
Trust in Voting Machines
As reported earlier, government agencies have already shown that several of the most popular voting machines can be hacked with limited know-how and equipment.
Simply put, voting machines are not a trustworthy technology.While some have a paper backup, others--like the machines used in Kansas' largest county--have no paper trail, making a full audit completely impossible. When discussing this with Dr. Clarkson, I was shocked that she was an advocate of the mail-in system of ballots, something that IVN has been following for several years.
In 2012, 74 percent of Colorado voters mailed in their ballots for the general election, increasing both turnout and the security of the election.
Mail-in voting also eliminates much of the voter fraud--the state knows who the ballots are going, to what address they are delivered, the potential for double voting is lessened, and the potential for non-citizens voting is almost totally eliminated. By far it is the most secure form of voting available.
With her lawsuit to force an audit of the election continued to August 18, Dr. Clarkson is looking into forming a nonprofit organization to finance both the audit and costs associated with the lawsuit.
Even if she is successful in court, it is likely that the state will charge her significant amounts of money for the time and record keeping necessary to "hand over" the information. If not successful, a battle in the appellate courts could be a long and expensive process.
Either way, funds will be needed to proceed, regardless of the initial outcome of the pending court case.
Dr. Clarkson keeps a website where she blogs and updates her status and ideas on the current case--a very good site to follow as this unfolds.
SOS Kobach's response
So far, Secretary of State Kobach is more interested in using his newly granted prosecutorial powers to hunt down voting fraud, rather than addressing the possibility that there was a systemic fraud in the election.
According to Dr. Clarkson, she requested a recount and audit within the proper time frame, yet her request was denied.
Now, the state is taking the stance that too much time has elapsed and that the record is now sealed since the election has been certified. So many questions abound, yet the Sec. of State office has been silent--only adding to the mystic of the whole case.
The Sec. of State's media email address was contacted regarding this case last month, yet no reply was given to the very basic questions asked.
Are We Entering a New Era of Ballot Box Stuffing?
In 1910, 26 percent of the electorate (almost 2000 votes) of Adams County, Ohio was paid--ranging from a single drink of whiskey to $25--for their ballots in the election.
We'd like to think that such things are long in America's past, but are we entering a new era of concealed ballot box stuffing?
In the past, it was almost impossible for a widespread fraud of the ballot to go undetected (that didn't mean it didn't go unprosecuted), there were simply too many people involved in any scheme to rig the ballot without being exposed.
But with the invention of electronic voting machines, a very small group could hack entire elections undetected.
If we are going to use electronic voting machines (which that should be another debate in and of itself), there needs to be safeguards in place--including protocols that trigger recounts when statistical anomalies appear.
The universal secret ballot is only a little over 125 years old in this country, with Grover Cleveland being the first president elected by a totally secret ballot.
Sadly, in the modern era of electronic voting, secret balloting only enhances the possibilities of voting fraud--as a voter could never prove as a group how they voted or which ballots were theirs.
The answer isn't going to come from eliminating the secret ballot, yet some form of checks and balances must be put into place to ensure that the integrity of the ballot box is sacrosanct--otherwise our faith in our Republic itself is in jeopardy.
Image: Voting Machine / Wikimedia Commons