Kobach Files First Voting Fraud Charges Since Being Given Authority To Prosecute

October 13, 2015 11:33 a.m.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s (R) office said Tuesday that he filed his first criminal voter fraud charges since being granted the authority to prosecute such cases earlier this year.

Kobach’s office on Friday filed complaints in Johnson County that accused Betty M. Gaedtke and Steven K. Gaedtke of “voting without being qualified,” a misdemeanor, during the 2010 election. A third complaint filed in Sherman County accused Lincoln L. Wilson of election perjury, a felony, as well as voting without being qualified in three elections between 2010 and 2014.

An attorney for the Gaedtkes did not immediately respond for a request for comment. Wilson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Kobach has been a lightning rod in the Sunflower State when it comes to voting rights. His critics say he greatly exaggerates the prevalence of voter fraud in the state and pushes new laws that restrict access to voting, particularly for people who tend to vote for Democrats.

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Gov. Sam Brownback (R) in June signed legislation that granted Kobach the authority to pursue criminal charges in voter fraud cases even if local prosecutors opted against advancing those cases. Prior to that expansion of his authority, Kobach was compelled to refer voter fraudcases to local prosecutors.

Kobach previously said his office already identified 100 cases of potential voter fraud.

Read the complaints below:

This post has been updated.

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