Report: Republican Lawmaker Accused Of Voter Fraud And Perjury
U.S. Rep. Steve Watkins will potentially face felony voter fraud under federal law and election perjury under state statute for signing a Kansas voter registration form and two other election documents stating that his residential address was a UPS Store in Topeka, Kansas, according to The Topeka Capital-Journal.
The first-term Republican listed his official residence as 6021 S.W. 29th St. in Topeka, a building housing a UPS Store, when he signed a form to change his residency for voter registration purposes in August, signed an application for a mail-in ballot in October, and signed a document to compete advance voting for the November election.
Although Watkins’ chief of staff argued that it was a clerical error, a bipartisan group of Kansas lawmakers suggest that Watkins’ actions were criminal.
“Unless I’m mistaken, no one can live at a UPS store. It cannot be a place of residence,” said State Rep. Blake Carpenter, a conservative Republican from Derby who serves on the House Elections Committee. “This person undoubtedly voted in an election in November for candidates that he had no constitutional right to vote for. This is wrong and illegal. No one should be above the law.”
Under state law, election perjury constitutes a level nine nonperson felony punishable by up to seven months in prison and a fine of $100,000.
The penalty under federal law could be five years in prison and a $10,000 fine for people guilty of willingly providing false information about an address when establishing eligibility for registration.
“From the surface, that’s not a good look,” said State Rep. Bill Sutton, a Republican from Gardner and the chairman of the Kansas House Elections Committee. “That’s a horrible look. Does it cross a legal line? I can’t answer that without looking into it more.”