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.

Go deeper

Jul 21, 2020 - Technology

Facebook adds label to Trump post on elections

Photo Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Facebook Tuesday added a label — directing users to electoral information — to a post by President Donald Trump that criticizes mail-in voting.

Why it matters: The move follows through on a promise by Facebook to label all posts from political candidates that mention voting. The company wants to show it will apply the new rules equally to everyone, including Trump. It has added similar links to posts from Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

29 mins ago - Health

Axios-Ipsos poll: Fear of voting

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note: ±3.0% margin of error for the total sample; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Democrats are twice as likely as Republicans to worry about in-person voting — with nearly two in three seeing it as a large or moderate risk to their health — according to this week's installment of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: This could pose a significant disadvantage for Joe Biden and other Democratic candidates in November if the pattern holds — especially in states where high infection rates persist, or where there are significant hurdles to mail-in, absentee or early voting.

Trump: Coronavirus is "under control"

President Trump said in an interview with “Axios on HBO” that he thinks the coronavirus is as well-controlled in the U.S. as it can be, despite dramatic surges in new infections over the course of the summer and more than 150,000 American deaths.

  • “They are dying, that's true. And you have — it is what it is. But that doesn't mean we aren't doing everything we can. It's under control as much as you can control it. This is a horrible plague,” he told Axios' Jonathan Swan.