Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the architect behind some of the nation’s strictest voter ID requirements, is asking lawmakers to give him the power to press voter fraud charges because he says prosecutors do not pursue cases he refers. The state’s top federal prosecutor, however, says Kobach has not sent any cases his way. Some county prosecutors say cases that have been referred did not justify prosecution. The conservative Republican publicly chastised Kansas-based U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom late last year, telling Topeka television station WIBW he had referred voter fraud cases to Grissom and that Grissom didn’t “know what he’s talking about” when he said voter fraud doesn’t exist in Kansas. But in a Nov. 6 letter sent from Grissom to Kobach and obtained by The Associated Press through an open records request, the prosecutor responded that his office received no such referrals from Kobach, and chided the secretary of state for his statements. “Going forward, if your office determines there has been an act of voter fraud please forward the matter to me for investigation and prosecution,” Grissom wrote. “Until then, so we can avoid misstatements of facts for the future, for the record, we have received no voter fraud cases from your office in over four and a half years. And, I can assure you, I do know what I’m talking about.” Grissom told the AP last week that Kobach never replied to his letter.
“We want to uphold the integrity of the voting system and people’s ability to exercise their right and have their voice heard as part of the process,” Grissom said. “And we have the ability, we have the resources, to prosecute any case in which someone believes there has been any voter fraud or voter misrepresentation.”
Kobach acknowledged in an email to the AP last week that his office never has sent suspected voter fraud cases to Grissom, citing instead what he said was inaction on cases referred by his predecessor.
Grissom said the FBI determined two cases referred before Kobach took office in January 2011 were not voter fraud.