A Kansas House committee pushed forward legislation Monday to give Secretary of State Kris Kobach the power to prosecute election fraud. The House Judiciary Committee voted 14-8 to send Senate Bill 34 to the floor. The vote marked a revival of the legislation, which was first approved by the the committee in March. Because of parliamentary rules, the panel had to re-approve the bill. Rep. John Rubin, R-Shawnee, said he had initially had some reservations about the legislation. But the secretary of state has unique knowledge about election fraud that makes allowing that office to prosecute appropriate, he said.
“My view is, whether the secretary of state is Kris Kobach or a liberal Democrat or anyone in between, the expertise that goes with that office dictates that they should have prosecutorial authority in these types of crimes,” Rubin said.
But Rep. Blaine Finch, R-Ottawa, argued against giving the secretary of state prosecution power. He said the legislation amounts to lawmakers sending a message to prosecutors that they don’t trust their discretion when going after election crimes.