Mathematician not optimistic about suit seeking ballot audit

? A Wichita State University mathematician says she’s not optimistic that she’ll win her lawsuit seeking ballot information so she can perform an audit of the 2014 election.

Beth Clarkson is suing Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman. She says she identified anomalies with election results in Sedgwick County and wants to audit them, The Wichita Eagle reported.

Clarkson filed an unsuccessful suit in 2012 and told supporters in an Aug. 19 newsletter that several lawyers have told her that she would lose her case this time, too.

“Those who aren’t so definitive don’t seem particularly optimistic,” she wrote. “So far, I’ve been of the opinion that I can lose just as easily all by myself, so I’m still acting as my own attorney.”

Clarkson, a certified quality engineer with a doctorate in statistics, has said her calculations from the November election showed enough patterns to suspect that “some voting systems were being sabotaged.”

Kobach told The Eagle earlier this month that two state statutes prevent the county from releasing ballots for Clarkson to audit.

“It’s a felony to disclose or expose the contents of any ballot, and that’s even if the voters’ names are redacted,” Kobach said.

Another statute forbids county election officers from “unsealing the containers in which ballots are kept” except under a judicial order, he said.

Judges have the power to order ballots unsealed if an election is contested, but the period to contest the 2014 results has passed, he said.

“The judge can do this, but Kansas law specifically says outside of those circumstances you can’t do this,” Kobach said.

Clarkson said that despite her doubts about her lawsuits chances, she remains committed to pursuing the audit.

“I feel that in a democracy like the U.S., someone like me ought to be able to legally get access to our voting records, determine the accuracy of the official reported results and make those findings public,” she said. “If not, that lack of transparency is another red flag that our votes are NOT being counted accurately.”