With the recent dismissal of a voter fraud case against a former Olathe woman, Secretary of State Kris Kobach has secured just one conviction in his effort to crack down on illegal voting in Kansas. But more convictions are coming, Kobach told The Star on Tuesday. He is expecting a guilty plea in a voter fraud case by Friday and another by the end of the month. The conservative Republican pushed for legislation last year that gave him the authority to prosecute voter fraud. Gov. Sam Brownback signed the measure last summer, making Kobach the only secretary of state in the nation with such power. At the time, Kobach said he had identified more than 100 potential instances of double voting, casting ballots in the same election in different jurisdictions. Kobach announced three voter fraud cases last October and three more in January. One of the October cases resulted in a guilty plea in December, and one was dismissed last Friday.
Micah Kubic, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas, said the results so far show that the extension of prosecutorial power to the secretary of state was “unnecessary and ill-advised.” Assessing and trying voter fraud cases should be in the hands of county prosecutors, he said. “When it comes to prosecuting, actual prosecutors know their business best,” Kubic said.
Kobach maintained that county prosecutors don’t have time to devote to voter fraud cases. He forwarded cases to them, but the cases would languish, he said. “They’re just so busy that with so many cases that these fall to the bottom of the stack,” he said.
The number of voter fraud cases also calls Kobach’s endeavor into question, Kubic said. “After making a great hubbub of voter fraud running rampant, he has identified a total of six cases,” he said. “It demonstrates this is not a serious problem in Kansas. Voter fraud is very, very rare.”