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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

Updated Sep 4, 2020 - Technology

Zuckerberg warns of post-election violence

Mark Zuckerberg tells "Axios on HBO" that Facebook is imposing new election rules to deter use of the platform to spread of misinformation and even violence, and to help voters see the results as "legitimate and fair."

Driving the news: The new measures, announced Thursday, include throwing a flag on posts by candidates who claim premature victory, and forbidding new ads within a week of Election Day.

Russia likely to keep amplifying criticism of mail-in voting, DHS says

Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf testifies to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on August 6. Photo: Alex Wong/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security's intelligence branch warned law enforcement Thursday that it believes Russian-controlled social media trolls and state media are likely to continue trying to sow distrust in U.S. election results and mail-in ballots, ABC News first reported.

Why it matters: Americans are expected to vote by mail in record numbers in November's election due to the coronavirus pandemic, which means it may be days or weeks after election day before it's clear who won the presidency and down-ballot races.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day — Fauci says U.S. may not return to normal until 2022
  2. Politics: Top HHS spokesperson pitched coronavirus ad campaign as "helping the president" — Space Force's No. 2 general tests positive for coronavirus
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases — Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" wave France imposes lockdown Germany to close bars and restaurants for a month.
  4. Sports: Boston Marathon delayed MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.