Kansas Senator plans to boost election ‘integrity,’ will introduce election fraud protection bill

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — When most of us go to the polls, we fill out a ballot and stick it into an electronic machine, but in eight Kansas counties it’s entirely electric — by screen or computer.

“There’s no way to go back and audit it to find out that the machine is telling you how someone voted versus how they actually voted,” said Kansas Senator Richard Hilderbrand. “Every voter should have the comfort and understanding that when they place that vote into that machine, that it’s a true and accurate depiction of how they voted.” 

Senator Hilderbrand will be introducing a bill during next year’s legislative session, promising to ban any use of direct-record electronic (DRE) machines. DRE machines don’t produce a paper-record for each vote cast, leaving no way to validate the computer-generated vote.  

There are only a few counties that still use DRE machines in Kansas, but Hilderbrand says even one machine is too many.  

As claims of election fraud circulate across the country, state election officials have disputed claims of there being a possibility of cheating in Kansas. But, Hilderbrand says it’s important to be careful, especially when using electronics. 

“It’s not only just cheating, it’s human error, computer glitches, anything like that is an issue,” Hilderbrand said. 

Senator Hilderbrand is calling for the immediate update of machines to make sure that all votes in Kansas are counted accurately. He’s exploring a few options to fund the updates, including the use of CARES Act funding.  

This is the second time that he will be introducing the bill, which died in committee last year. This time, Hilderbrand is hopeful that lawmakers will agree with his proposal. 

“One thing we have to do, beyond anything else, is to do everything we can do to preserve the integrity of those elections,” he said. 

Kansas’ legislative sessions resume in January 2021.

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