A candidate for the Kansas House wants to convene a grand jury to investigate Secretary of State Kris Kobach.
Steven X. Davis, a Democratic candidate for the Kansas House from Lawrence, filed a petition with the Douglas Country District Court to summon a grand jury to investigate whether the secretary of state’s office committed election fraud in 2014.
Davis, who is challenging incumbent Rep. Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, in House District 44, said the secretary of state’s office may have intentionally failed to register voters who had tried to register through the state’s online system during the last election, even if they provided proof of citizenship documents as required by Kansas law.
Kobach, in an e-mail, called the request for a grand jury “a ridiculous political stunt by an unknown candidate who’s trying to get his name in the paper” and noted that “county clerks count the ballots and process 99% of voter registration applications, not the secretary of state.”
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“What he seems to be opposed to is Kansas’s proof of citizenship law. But only in the fever swamps of the Left is it a crime to support secure elections,” Kobach said.
Davis, who works as a freelance copy editor, said he does not have evidence to back up his allegation, but added that he has heard anecdotal evidence from people who had problems with the system. He believes a grand jury investigation is warranted.
“As a private citizen there’s no way for me to actually get real evidence, but I could, however, circulate this petition,” Davis said. “… I do think there will be evidence. Now whether there’s enough to bring an indictment, it’s up to the grand jury.”
Kansas is one of only six states that allows grand juries to be called from citizen petitions. Kansas law allows for a grand jury to be called if 100 people plus 2 percent of the number of people in a county who voted in the last gubernatorial election sign the petition, which in Douglas County would be 860 signatures.
Davis said he has collected 1,030 signatures. It will be up to the Douglas County Clerk’s Office to verify whether all of those signatures are valid and from registered voters in the county.
Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew said this is the first grand jury petition he has seen in 12 years as county clerk.
If Shew’s office verifies that Davis has collected enough signatures, the petition would go to the chief judge or his designee “who rules on whether or not to order the convening of a grand jury,” according to Doug Hamilton, the clerk of the Douglas County District Court.