A county official said Thursday that enough signatures were gathered to allow a grand jury to criminally investigate Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s handling of Kansas’ online voter registration system. But even Kobach’s harshest critics say they have seen no evidence he committed a crime. The petition seeks a grand jury investigation into whether the Republican’s office committed election fraud and voter registration suppression by deleting registration data or obstructing delivery of voter applications to county election officials. The petition was filed last month by Steven X. Davis, a Democrat who believes a grand jury is the only way to get credible evidence. Kobach didn’t immediately return messages for comment.
Kansas is among six states that allow grand juries by citizen petition. Kansas’ law has been rarely used in the last decade, and when it has, petition backers have targeted abortion clinics or sellers of alleged pornography.
Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew said Davis’ petition had the required number of verified signatures. The next step is to send it to the county’s top judge for a standard review.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the League of Women Voters — both suing Kobach over voting rights issues — said they haven’t seen evidence of criminal conduct at his office. The league contends that Kansas’ proof of citizenship requirement is “bad law,” but co-president Marge Ahrens said the group hasn’t alleged that Kobach’s conduct is criminal.