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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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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Kansas may not require people registering to vote to provide documents proving their citizenship, a federal appeals court has ruled, striking down one of the most prominent Republican efforts to prove assertions of widespread election cheating.
The law was enacted in 2013 at the behest of Kris Kobach, the polarizing GOP figure who was then the state's top elections official and went on to chair President Trump' s commission to investigate voter fraud, which disbanded after coming up nearly empty.
Wednesday's ruling could bolster the prospects for other lawsuits by progressive groups and the Democrats. They are challenging election laws in more than a dozen states, many of them 2020 battlegrounds, arguing many rules were designed by conservative legislators to suppress the votes of racial minorities, college students and other reliably Democratic voters on the pretext of outsmarting an army of fraudsters that doesn't actually exist.