The state of Kansas has difficulty getting good press. This is for a certain reason….think of it this way–
“What did you expect? ‘Welcome, sonny?’ “Make yourself at home?” ‘Marry my daughter?’ You’ve got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the New West. You know…morons.” I admit that I fall back on this wise observation from Jim, The Waco Kid when I hear about continued self-defeating behavior on the part of fellow citizens doing things like voting Sam Brownback in again as governor.
But suddenly the plot thickens. I will admit that I was fairly baffled by his win as he is supremely loathed around here. You can stop at a gas station and have a stranger start telling you how much he dislikes the man. It is a common discussion circulating….the ripe dislike of this man. Individuals around here said things before the election like “even though I am a Republican, I am not going to bother voting this time.” Polls looked to be headed against him, but the bizarre did occur. He slipped in for another term.
This is how much he is disliked: The guy got hissed and boo’d when his visage was projected on the big-screen during the NCAA Championships; Two Kansas teams were competing. It was a sweet moment that brought together fans of both schools, the mutual disgust for this guy. His wife in a cheesy Marie Antoinette moment appeared to mouth “are they booing us?” He is hated. He has to slip out back doors after certain speaking engagements to avoid embarrassing rabble who hurl unpleasantries his way. I used to be in the anarchist camp– well it wasn’t really an organized camp, of course, more a free-form collection of sleeping bags in the backyard. But I was down with the idea that it makes no difference to vote, but that was a fairly easy stance to take. With that view, comes the need to do something (as in pitchfork action), not simply avoid voting. In these local matters, it makes a huge difference who gets in, if nothing else for the blood pressure needs of those still in these areas with functioning empathy glands (they exist, check out the New England Journal of Medicine, Fall Fun issue 1987). But if the act of voting makes no difference because of fraud….well that is a completely different animal.
Here is where it gets weird. It’s pretty easy to assume the current state of things is the work of morons. It is ingrained in the American soul at this point that problems are always individual, not societal or something even more creepy…….. like old billionaire degenerates in a wood paneled room sharing cigars, whores and plots. Now that’s just crazy right?
There is an open records lawsuit at this time in Sedgwick County filed by a Wichita State University statistician, Beth Clarkson. She wants the paper tapes from the Kansas voting machines. She became curious after a paper from Francois Choquette and James Johnson, two statisticians who noted strong statistical evident of election manipulation during the 2012 elections. She didn’t believe their findings at first so she checked their data and also looked at other elections they hadn’t analyzed. She found the same oddities that they did.
Clarkson wants an explanation why there is a pattern that shows the percentage of Republican votes increase in a predictable manner as the size of the precinct increases. These things shouldn’t follow anything that resembles a formula…..right? Variation in demographics should not allow for straight line predictions. You see what she is getting at. Yet she remains diplomatic, saying it could be fraud or there is a trend that has not been picked up extensive polling. Notice the extensive polling she mentioned—that speaks volumes. Smoke is rising from these machines and their “results”. Many of us have had gut feelings that these elections have not been reflecting the actual votes, but this is all subjective, and the appearance of a highly trained statistician digging into the paper trail is what is needed. I have no idea how sophisticated a fraud scenario might be, but the sheer arrogance of the oligarchy makes me think something very well may be found.
The talk of voting machine chicanery has been extensive, but mainly a grumbled thing as in “what are you gonna do?”…..it sadly now sort of lives in the realm of fuzzy conspiracy theory. This could change that. The fact that a fingerprint of weirdness had been noted by a Ph.D statistician who sees a reproducible and inexplicable trend— this small lawsuit in Sedgwick County, Kansas might open the floodgates, and may even make jerks like me have to rethink the number of morons out there voting against their own interests. Maybe there simply aren’t so many morons out there as we have been led to believe. Beth Clarkson, good luck to you. This is good work you are doing.
Kathleen Wallace writes out of the US Midwest and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.