Secretary of State Kris Kobach has been dismissed as a defendant from a lawsuit brought against him by a Wichita State University statistician who is seeking to unseal Sedgwick County voting records.
Tabitha Lehman, Sedgwick County’s election commissioner, is now the sole defendant in the lawsuit. Her office has the records sought by Beth Clarkson, the statistician. Kobach’s dismissal from the case was agreed to by attorneys representing both Clarkson and Lehman.
Clarkson wants to audit voting records from the 2014 election, contending that she has found statistical anomalies that warrant further investigation. A similar suit she brought against the county for records from the 2012 election failed.
Kobach has repeatedly said that allowing Clarkson to inspect ballots after they’ve been sealed would violate Kansas law. In a statement announcing his dismissal from the suit, Kobach said “the letter of the law is clear regarding the auditing procedures of election ballots; we were dismissed as a party to this lawsuit because we should have never been a party in the first place.”
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Clarkson told supporters in an e-mail in August that she wasn’t optimistic about her chances with the suit, but said she planned to proceed anyway because “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.”