The attorney for a Sherman County man accused of voter fraud says the case should be dismissed because Secretary of State Kris Kobach is not personally prosecuting it.
Kobach’s office charged three people with voter fraud last month after the Legislature made him the only secretary of state in the nation with prosecutorial power. The prosecutions have generated national attention and debate.
Lincoln Wilson faces felony charges. He is accused of voting in both Yuma County, Colo., and Sherman County in western Kansas.
His lawyer, Jeff Mason, is seeking to have the case dismissed based on his interpretation that “the statute requires that everything be done by Mr. Kobach as secretary of state.”
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The case was filed by Assistant Secretary of State Eric Rucker, who also represented the office during Wilson’s first appearance in court Tuesday.
“We believe that is not proper, so we’re asking the court to dismiss,” Mason said.
Kobach’s office said in an e-mail that another statute authorizes the assistant secretary of state and other deputies to act on Kobach’s behalf.
“We consider the motion to dismiss perfunctory and we clearly have statutory authority to prosecute this case,” said Kobach’s spokesman Craig McCullah in an e-mail.
Wilson was advised of the charges against him Tuesday, but did not enter a plea regarding his guilt or innocence, Mason said.
Wilson told The Eagle last month that he did indeed vote in both states but thought he was allowed to do so. Mason would not comment on that.
If Wilson is found guilty of election perjury, he could face up to seven months in prison for a first-time offense, although the presumed sentence is a year’s probation. Wilson faces multiple charges for perjury and improperly voting in the 2010, 2012 and 2014 elections.
Mason said he was waiting to receive documents from the Secretary of State’s Office regarding evidence before he could comment further. The motion to dismiss the case is scheduled to be heard Dec. 7.
An Arkansas couple who used to live in Johnson County face misdemeanor charges based on allegations that they voted in both places in 2010.