There are some who would say evoking silence from Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is akin to a miracle. After all, despite the many criticisms of Kobach, he often isn’t shy to talk. He even has been known to provide information when he didn’t intend to. See a now infamous photo of him with a set of documents and then president-elect Trump. And when the subject is illegal voting, Kobach normally becomes like a “Game of Thrones” fan at a cocktail party. You need an actual wizard to get out of that conversation. But evidently that is not always the case. It has been a little more than four months since I first reported a potential voter fraud case involving Douglas County Sheriff Ken McGovern and his elderly mother. I’ve asked Kobach’s representatives approximately a half-dozen times for an update on the case. Most times, I haven’t even received a response from his office. I did on June 14. Spokeswoman Samantha Poetter sent me an email saying she expected to have an update for me later that day. That was the last I’ve heard from her, despite checking in several more times. Why is Kobach silent on the matter? I, of course, don’t know. I can only speculate. Fortunately, one of the perks of being an editor is you are allowed to do that.
I suspect it is because the case puts Kobach — who is running for the GOP nomination for governor and is President Trump’s co-chair on the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity — in a tough position. As a reminder, here’s the key allegation made against octogenarian Lois McGovern: She voted in the 2016 Douglas County primary while being registered at a Lawrence home that she had sold more than a year earlier. The evidence suggests she actually was living in a Johnson County nursing home at the time of the election. Her son, Sheriff McGovern, picked up the ballot for her, knowing that she was registered to vote at a home where she no longer lived.
A citizen filed a complaint with Kobach’s office against the McGoverns in September, and then another in October. For months, the complainant didn’t hear anything from the secretary of state’s office about the status of the complaints. The Journal-World became aware of the allegations and asked Kobach’s office about them in February. At that point, Brian Caskey, director of elections for the secretary of state’s office, said enough questions surrounded the allegations that the matter had been forwarded to the secretary of state’s prosecutorial division. I continue to await what they found.