Jul 15, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Kansas Rep. Steve Watkins charged with voter fraud

Rep. Steve Watkins speaking at a press conference

Rep. Steve Watkins. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images

Rep. Steve Watkins (R-Kan.) has been charged with three felonies and a misdemeanor relating to an investigation into whether he illegally voted in a 2019 municipal election, The Kansas City Star reports.

The state of play: Watkins, a first-term congressman, was first investigated by the Shawnee County Sheriff's Office after allegations arose that he listed a UPS store in Topeka as his registration address to vote in the 2019 municipal election.

  • That investigation was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to local media outlet KSNT.

Watkins has been charged with:

  • Interference with law enforcement by providing false information;
  • Voting without being qualified;
  • Unlawful advance voting;
  • Failing to notify the DMV of change of address.

What they're saying: Watkin's campaign emailed Axios, “Give us a break. 30 minutes before the first televised debate and the day before early voting starts, the DA – who shares a political consultant with our primary opponent Jake LaTurner – files these bogus charges. They couldn’t have been more political if they tried.”

  • “Just like President Trump, Steve is being politically prosecuted by his opponents who can’t accept the results of the last election.”
  • “Kansans and Americans are tired of these kinds of silly games. This is a desperate political attack by a desperate political campaign on its dying breath down twenty points. Jake LaTurner is hell bent on seeing Democrat’s win and undermining Republicans at every turn.”

Worth noting: Watkins is up for re-election, and the charges were announced the same day as he takes the stage for a Republican primary debate.

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