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GOP Rep. Steve Watkins of Kansas charged with voter fraud

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  • The Shawnee County district attorney charged Rep. Steve Watkins of voter fraud, local outlets reported. 
  • The allegations stem from Watkins listing a UPS Store address on his mail-in ballot during 2019 local elections. 
  • He faces three felony charges and one misdemeanor charge. He has denied the claims and called listing the UPS Store’s address an “honest mistake.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Republican Rep. Steve Watkins of Kansas is being charged in relation to a voter fraud investigation by the district attorney in Shawnee County, Kansas, local outlet KMBC reported.

According to the outlet, Watkins was charged with three felonies and one misdemeanor. The three felonies charges are for providing false information, voting without being qualified, and unlawful advance voting. He is also being charged with a misdemeanor for failing to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles of a change of address.

WIBW reported that the charges are related to Watkins listing the address for a UPS Store mailbox on his advanced 2019 local elections ballot. Watkins’ office previously said it was an “honest mistake” and claimed that the store was used as a mailing address for his campaign, according to WIBW. 

District Attorney Michael Kagay said he was aware of the allegations in December 2019, but the investigation was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

NPR added that registering at the UPS Store address meant that Watkins could vote in a district other than his previous address. “The UPS store falls in a city council district where the election was decided by 13 votes,” NPR wrote. 

“This is clearly hyper-political. It comes out moments before our first debate and three weeks before the election. I haven’t done anything wrong. As soon as I realized that I had put our mailing address instead of my physical address we fixed it. This is very suspicious, seems highly political, we’ve cooperated with the district attorney completely. I haven’t seen the charges. I simply know that I look forward to clearing my name. I’ve done nothing wrong and look forward to setting the record straight,” Watkins said about the investigation on Tuesday at a debate, KMBC reported. 

According to KMBC, Watkins’ actions could even be considered perjury. 

Watkins is running against Kansas Treasurer Jake LaTurner and Dennis Taylor in the district’s GOP primary. 

According to NPR, LaTurner said: “It’s safe to say that this is now a two-person race. The reality is Steve Watkins needs to take responsibility for what he’s done.”

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