After being rebuffed by an all-Republican state panel, Wichita Democrats are launching a petition drive seeking a grand jury to investigate a GOP House candidate who filed to run from a home that has been foreclosed.
Democrats decided to take that action after the state Objections Board on Monday denied a residency challenge seeking to kick Republican Michael Capps off the ballot in House District 85, said Levi Henry, a Wichita Democratic precinct committeeman.
If they can collect 2,959 valid voter signatures in the next 60 days, it will force a court to form a grand jury to decide whether Capps should be charged with election perjury and voter fraud, Henry said.
Capps called the petition drive "just another glaring example of Democrats wasting taxpayer dollars."
Henry said the Capps opponents have found new evidence he doesn't live where he says he does. An election document sent to Capps' declared address was returned as undeliverable, with a post office sticker showing a UPS mail drop as his address.
It's the latest twist in an ongoing saga.
Democrats have alleged that Capps doesn't live in a house at 3103 N. Governeour, where he registered to vote and which he used as his address when he filed to run in the Nov. 6 election.
The home was ordered foreclosed in January and is scheduled to be auctioned off June 27, according to court documents.
The state House district straddles the Sedgwick-Butler County line and includes parts of northeast Wichita, Bel Aire, Kechi and Benton.
Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman confirmed that the post office returned the registration confirmation that she sent to Capps at the Governeour address.
She said the confirmation letter is sent to every voter who files a change of address, which Capps last did on March 29.
It was his sixth change of address in the last three years.
He registered at the home on Governeour in April2015, election office records show.
The following February, he changed his address to a home on Nevada Street. From there, it was on to Sheridan Street, St. Clair Street, Chase Avenue and back to Governeour, the records show.
Capps had previously filed to run in House District 97 using the South Chase address, but filed on June 1 using the Governeour address after Rep. Chuck Weber withdrew his re-election bid in District 85. His Democratic opponent in District 85 is Monica Marks.
The Objections Board is officially made up of Lt. Gov. Tracy Mann, Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Attorney General Derek Schmidt, all Republicans. They can send proxies from their department in their place, which Mann and Schmidt both did Monday.
Capps emphasized the Objections Board had dismissed the complaint against him.
"It was clearly demonstrated Monday that I live in the district and fully meet the requirements to be on the ballot," he said in an email.