OLATHE — Secretary of State Kris Kobach has charged two men and one woman with voting-related crimes, the first cases brought by his office since lawmakers gave him prosecutorial power earlier this year.
Few details surrounding the alleged crimes have been released, but court documents show that in all cases, Kobach has worked with officials in surrounding states.
Criminal complaints accuse Steven Gaedtke and Betty Gaedtke of voting in the 2010 general election in Johnson County without having been lawfully registered Kansas voters, and that they made false statements on an advance voting ballot. Each faces three misdemeanor counts.
Another criminal complaint charges that Lincoln Wilson voted in multiple elections in Sherman County in western Kansas between 2012 and 2014 without being qualified and committed election perjury. Wilson faces 10 counts in total, including three felony counts.
Kobach told The Associated Press each complaint deals with alleged double-voting incidents in 2010.
Kobach said the cases against the Gaedtkes, who are married, allege each also voted in Arkansas. The Sherman County case alleges Wilson voted there and also in Colorado.
The cases will likely draw intense scrutiny. They represent the first time Kobach has exercised his controversial new prosecutorial power.
Kobach spokesman Craig McCullah said Kobach wouldn’t issue a formal statement Tuesday. The criminal cases were filed Friday.
Copies of the criminal complaints don’t divulge the evidence against the accused on which Kobach based the charges, and they provide few details on the alleged crimes. But they do point to the source of the evidence.
In the case of the Gaedtkes, the complaints reveal Johnson County Election Commissioner Brian Newby provided a sworn affidavit with probable cause to file charges.
Wilson’s complaint shows Bryan Caskey, a deputy assistant secretary of state, signed an affidavit demonstrating probable cause.
The criminal complaints also indicate that the Secretary of State’s office, new to criminal prosecution, likely worked with existing law enforcement.
The complaint lists Dana Gouge, chief investigator in the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office, as one of the witnesses.
The complaint also lists George Caldarera as a witness. Caldarera oversees criminal investigations in the Marion County, Ark., Sheriff’s Office. Dee Carleton, the Marion County clerk, is also named as a witness.
A Facebook page for Steven Gaedtke indicates he lives in Yellville, Ark., which sits in Marion County.
Court documents show a December court date for the Gaedtkes. They were issued a summons. Wilson’s court date is set for Nov. 3, McCullah said.
Witnesses in Wilson’s case include officials from Yuma County, Colo. Calls to a phone number listed for Wilson weren’t answered.