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"Although Kansans have cast millions of ballots over the last decade, there remains no evidence of significant voter fraud," said Gov. Laura Kelly.

GOP crusade to curb voting runs into blockade in ruby red Kansas

The sprawling Republican effort to make voting more difficult has been derailed for the first time by a Democratic governor.

Laura Kelly of Kansas has vetoed two bills, one curbing the number of ballots third parties may collect and deliver and the other giving the Legislature total control over election rules. Both were drafted in response to developments in other states last year — decisions by courts and governors to ease access to the ballot during the pandemic, and Donald Trump's baseless claims that widespread fraud had robbed him of a second presidential term.

The measures now return to the capital, where both have more than enough support for a veto override in the Senate but appear to be a handful of votes short of the necessary two-thirds majority in the House. Kansas' 2021 legislative session lasts three more weeks.

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Kansas primary

Kansas holds its state primary election.

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President Trump campaigned in Topeka for Steve Watkins during his first run for the House in 2018.

Rare charges of election fraud brought against GOP congressman

Time after time, serious attempts to uncover voting fraud have come up essentially empty — though no effort has been more dogged than by the Republicans in charge in Kansas. Now, an allegation has landed at their feet. The accused is a freshman GOP congressman from Topeka.

Rep. Steve Watkins was charged Tuesday with three felonies connected to the city's municipal election last year, apparently the first allegations of election cheating against a sitting member of Congress in more than two decades. He allegedly repeatedly signed documents listing a UPS store as his home address, allowing him to vote in a city council race decided by just 13 votes.

The case poses a nettlesome challenge for President Trump, who has spent the past four years wrongly asserting that voter fraud is rampant and GOP candidates are the principal victims — his rationale for opposing the liberalized use of mail ballots as he stands for re-election during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Is there a way to combine two flawed election systems into a better hybrid?

Overing is a senior at the University of California, Berkeley, and a chapter development consultant for Bridge USA, a national student-run organization seeking to depolarize college campuses and increase youth civic engagement.

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