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Kobach Files Ninth Case Of Alleged Voter Fraud

Stephen Koranda
Kansas Public Radio

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach filed a ninth case of reported voter fraud this week, criminally charging a man who allegedly voted illegally in Kansas and Texas.

A criminal complaint filed in Shawnee County District Court charges Preston G. Christensen with three misdemeanor counts of improper voting between Oct. 19, 2012, to Nov. 6, 2012, in Shawnee County, Kansas.

Little is known about Christensen, as Kobach’s filing doesn’t offer any personal details about the voter. Efforts to find Christensen in Kansas and Texas were unsuccessful.

Rep. John Carmichael, a Wichita Democrat, reacted sarcastically Friday to the new filing against the voter:

“The scoundrel.” Carmichael said with a laugh. “Oh my!”

Carmichael, who has filed a bill that would strip Kobach of his prosecutorial powers, said he knows of no other professional prosecutor in Kansas who uses so many resources to go after just a handful of misdemeanor cases.

This week Kobach told a legislative committee that he has a full-time attorney assigned to going after cases of alleged voter fraud.

“I seriously question whether the Secretary of State is being a good steward of the taxpayer’s money,” Carmichael said.

Despite his claims that there are “aliens” illegally voting in Kansas and elsewhere, the six cases that Kobach has prosecuted so far have all targeted older white Republican men who say they mistakenly voted in two places, blaming the confusion on moving, a retirement or caring for elderly parents.  

Kobach is the only secretary of state in the U.S. to have prosecutorial powers, thanks to a July, 2015, law passed by the state legislature. In addition to the six misdemeanor convictions, one of Kobach’s cases was dismissed and he will defend an eighth case that is set for a felony jury trial next month, according to Desiree Taliaferro, his spokeswoman.

Kobach, long claiming mass voter fraud in the U.S., has most recently been an advisor to President-elect Donald Trump on immigration. He was the source on Trump’s suggestion that there were “millions of people who voted illegally,” according to Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s representative.

Peggy Lowe is investigations editor at KCUR and Harvest Public Media. You can find her on Twitter at @peggyllowe.

I’m a veteran investigative reporter who came up through newspapers and moved to public media. I want to give people a better understanding of the criminal justice system by focusing on its deeper issues, like institutional racism, the poverty-to-prison pipeline and police accountability. Today this beat is much different from how reporters worked it in the past. I’m telling stories about people who are building significant civil rights movements and redefining public safety. Email me at lowep@kcur.org.
Andy Marso is a reporter for KCUR 89.3 and the Kansas News Service based in Topeka.
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