Gov. Sam Brownback has officially given Secretary of State Kris Kobach the power to prosecute. The governor signed SB 34 at a ceremony Monday, granting the secretary of state the authority to prosecute voter fraud. Kobach, who crafted and pushed for the legislation, said his office has already begun preliminary work on investigations and said he had identified more than 100 possible cases of double voting. He said his office has started requesting voters’ signatures from counties as evidence.
“Once you have that matched, you have a slam dunk,” he said. “We’ll see what the ultimate number is. It’s hard to guess. I’m guessing that it’ll be an all-time high in double voting (in 2014), because Kansas was on the national news so much because of the tight governor’s race and Senate race. I think people were just tempted to cast (multiple) ballots.”
Kobach won’t be the only government official with the power to prosecute election crimes. The attorney general will also have that power, and county attorneys already have it. However, Kobach said his office probably will take the lead on most investigations.
During the legislative process, lawmakers could not identify another state that gives its secretary of state similar prosecutorial power, said Rep. John Carmichael, D-Wichita, one of the bill’s staunchest opponents.