Kansas’ Secretary of State announced plans to require counties to perform audits on voting equipment for elections beginning in 2017.
The proposal, introduced by Secretary of State Kris Kobach in January, would require a percentage of precincts and districts to be audited after election day and before votes are certified, the Kansas City Star reported. Kobach presented the bill to the House Elections Committee as a "robust" plan that would allow for a comprehensive audit.
"It goes well beyond what most states do," he said, according to the Star.
Kobach previously made headlines when he turned down requests from Wichita State University statistician Beth Clarkson to review Sedgwick County voting machine tapes from 2014. Clarkson said she had identified evidence of fraud in election results.
"I don’t understand why those patterns are there, the patterns are very definitely real," she told KSHB in September 2015. "But we don’t know what’s causing them or why they’re there. They do fit what would be expected if election fraud is occurring, and that’s very concerning.”
Clarkson ultimately sued the state of Kansas to ensure that every vote counted. The voting machines in which discrepancies were found, she said, were ones that could easily be hacked.
"This is something people should know either way," lobbyist Mary Ellen Conlee said. "In fact, the research in other states shows that sometimes it’s democrats who win because of this inconsistency and sometimes it’s republicans, but we want an honest vote count."
Kobach’s reason for turning down Clarkson’s audit requests was that state law prohibited it. His proposal would allow for bipartisan election boards to oversee audits in a public setting, the Star noted.
Kobach also announced that he is pursuing three new voter fraud cases, in addition to three that were announced in the fall of 2015. Kobach had previously vowed to fight fraudulent voting with stricter registration laws and prosecutions. The state legislature gave him prosecution power in regard to voter fraud in 2015 — making him the only Secretary of State in the country with such power.