A Sherman County magistrate judge rejected an argument Monday that Secretary of State Kris Kobach needs to personally prosecute voter fraud cases under a new statute. Lincoln Wilson faces felony charges from Kobach’s office accusing him of voting in both Colorado and Kansas in multiple elections – something Wilson admitted to doing and said he thought he was allowed to do in an October interview with The Eagle. His attorney, Jeff Mason, tried to get the case thrown out of court on the grounds that Assistant Secretary of State Eric Rucker is prosecuting the case rather than Kobach himself. The statute refers only to the secretary of state, Mason argued.
Kobach became the only secretary of state in the nation with the power to prosecute voter fraud cases this year. The magistrate judge found that another statute allows for Kobach’s deputies to act on his behalf.
Mason called the ruling a disappointment and said that they have 14 days to appeal the decision to a District Court judge.
Kobach’s office scored its first win since gaining the power to prosecute election crimes last week when Steve Gaedtke, a former resident of Olathe, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge that carries a maximum penalty of $500. Gaedtke’s wife, Betty, also faces charges, but plans to fight them in court.