Kansas AG Schmidt: Election crimes can be prosecuted

TOPEKA, KS (STL.News) In light of a recent announcement by the Douglas County District Attorney’s office that it will not prosecute certain election crimes, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt assured Kansans that election crimes will still be prosecuted.

Schmidt issued the following statement:

“Thousands of Kansans will go to the polls tomorrow in the municipal primary elections.  Citizens throughout our state deserve assurance that state election-integrity laws will be enforced and election crimes, like all other crimes, will be prosecuted when warranted by the evidence.  On July 27, the Douglas County District Attorney announced that office will not prosecute certain categories of election crimes, but state law also authorizes prosecution by the attorney general.  The law of the State of Kansas is in effect statewide, including in Douglas County, so any law enforcement agencies that obtain evidence of election crimes may present the results of an investigation to our office for review, and we will make a prosecution decision based on the facts and law applicable to any individual case.”

On July 27, the Douglas County District Attorney announced that office “will not prosecute cases stemming from new voter law.”  The reference apparently is to crimes created by House Bill 2332, a new election-integrity law enacted earlier this year by the Kansas legislature. Interest groups have filed lawsuits challenging provisions of that new law, and the attorney general’s office is defending the state against those lawsuits.  No court has found the new law invalid and no injunction blocking its enforcement is in effect. K.S.A. 25-2435 grants the attorney general concurrent jurisdiction to prosecute election crimes.  Allegations of election crimes should be reported to local law enforcement agencies.