Judge Denies Request to Ban Voting Machines and Drop Boxes in Kansas

WASHINGTON, D.C. On Wednesday, Oct. 19, a federal judge denied a request to cease the use of electronic voting machines and drop boxes throughout Kansas ahead of the upcoming November elections. This decision arises from a lawsuit filed in September by six Kansas voters against the Kansas director of elections, Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab (R), Attorney General Derek Schmidt (R) and Gov. Laura Kelly (D) challenging the results of the 2020, 2021 and 2022 elections in Kansas as well as the use of electronic voting machines and drop boxes throughout the state. The plaintiffs’ complaint, replete with conspiratorial claims, alleges that the 2020 election was conducted using “uncertified” and “insecure” electronic voting systems in violation of Kansas law and the Help America Vote Act of 2002. The plaintiffs base these outlandish assertions of “election fraud” on “first-hand knowledge” and ultimately request that Kansas “de-certify…and re-run the 2020 presidential election” using paper ballots that are hand counted. Additionally, they claim that the use of drop boxes violates the Kansas Constitution. 

Yesterday, a federal district judge rejected the plaintiffs’ motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO) which, if granted, would have removed all electronic voting machines and drop boxes for the upcoming 2022 midterm elections. In their motion for a TRO, the plaintiffs posited that if Kansas continues to use electronic voting machines and drop boxes, the Chinese Communist Party “could use poll worker data to intimidate or influence elections in their favor” and thus “weaken America.” The judge flatly rebuffed the plaintiffs’ baseless requests, concluding that they “have established none of the requirements for a TRO,” they “are unlikely to succeed on the merits of their claims” and they have failed to demonstrate that they will suffer “irreparable harm.” The judge further concluded that the plaintiffs most likely lack standing (meaning capacity to bring a lawsuit in court) and that the court lacks jurisdiction over the matter altogether. With regards to the plaintiffs’ claims about threats posed to Kansas elections by the Chinese Communist Party, the judge wrote: “[H]ow would a court order banning use of voting machines and drop boxes spare these evils? Plaintiffs provide no cogent, or even plausible answer for those questions.” Finally, the judge cited the Purcell principle, noting that the relief requested by the plaintiffs “in the ‘late innings’ of the run up to a general election” would “change the rules for a rapidly approaching election” and would “‘result in voter confusion and consequent incentive to remain away from the polls.’” With early voting set to begin in Kansas on Oct. 24, the judge ultimately found that granting the plaintiffs’ requests would work against the public interest and disadvantage Kansas voters. 

Notably, last month, a judge denied a TRO in a similarly fringe and conspiracy-filled lawsuit filed by Michigan Republicans seeking to decertify the results of the 2020 election in Michigan. These types of lawsuits are part of a growing and dangerous trend of challenges over the use of electronic voting machines and past election results in states such as Arizona, Colorado, New Hampshire, Oregon and Pennsylvania. Evidently, these suits further attest to the fact that the “Big Lie” continues to propagate on a country-wide basis in order to sow doubt about voting systems and election results alike. 

Read the order here. 

Learn more about the case here.