TOPEKA — Secretary of State Kris Kobach has filed new voter fraud charges in three counties — the second round of criminal complaints since he gained prosecutorial power last year.
In a brief interview, Kobach said charges have been filed in Johnson, Sedgwick and Ellis counties. Kobach said he will share more details Monday when he appears before the House Elections Committee.
Copies of the complaints provided by the Secretary of State’s office show Kobach has charged Ron R. Weems with two felony counts and three misdemeanor counts stemming from alleged double voting in Sedgwick County. The alleged crimes took place in 2012 and 2014.
Additionally, Michael L. Hannum has been charged with one felony count and three misdemeanor counts related to alleged double voting in Johnson County. The case stems from the 2012 election.
Kobach also charged Randall K. Kilian with three misdemeanor charges in Ellis County stemming from 2012.
The new cases come after Kobach charged three people in September: a husband and wife alleged to have voted in both Johnson County and Arkansas and a man who allegedly voted in western Kansas and Colorado.
“We’re six months into the authority, and we’ve filed six cases now,” Kobach said.
Last spring, the Legislature passed and Gov. Sam Brownback signed legislation granting the Secretary of State’s office the ability to prosecute voter fraud cases.
So far, Kobach has obtained one guilty plea. Steven Gaedtke pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in December and agreed to pay a $500 fine and court costs. The case against his wife, Betty Gaedtke, is ongoing.
A more serious case involving Lincoln Wilson also remains unresolved. Wilson is accused of voting in multiple elections in Sherman County in western Kansas between 2012 and 2014 without being qualified and committing election perjury. Wilson faces 10 counts in total, including three felony counts.
Kansas is the only state to give its secretary of state prosecutorial power. Critics of Kobach’s push into prosecution maintain instances of voter fraud are rare.