Missouri’s secretary of state would have the power to prosecute election crimes under a measure the Senate approved Thursday. Senators voted 25-4 to allow the secretary of state’s office to issue probable cause statements and take cases to court. The office’s election division currently investigates complaints, but any prosecution is left to local officials or the attorney general’s office. Sen. Will Kraus, a Republican from Lee’s Summit who sponsored the bill, said local prosecutors would still have the first opportunity to try a case. But often prosecutors focus on crimes in which someone was victimized, he said, so this bill would help ensure election cases have someone following through.
Kraus, who is a candidate for secretary of state, said he believes that office is well suited to investigate election cases because staff can easily access voter files.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has opened at least six criminal cases since he was granted that power last year by the state’s GOP-led Legislature. All those cases allege double voting.