Kansas Republican admits to voter fraud, agrees to diversion
If you ask Republicans, voter fraud is rampant and is quickly destroying the viability of elections. They argued that so many of these illegal votes are swaying elections that elections should be questioned. So far, however, the cases seem to show that voter fraud is extremely rare, and, whoops, often committed by Republicans.
In Kansas, the case of Steve Watkins, former US Congressman reached a conclusion last night with the former congressman admitting he had, in fact, committed voter fraud and that he didn't live at a UPS Store. Watkins, who lost to Jake Laturner, Republican State Treasurer, argued that the case was being brought up only for political reasons, as the relevant information was known for months beforehand and was related to a 2019 case. The voter fraud case marks another moment in the strange, strange tale of a former congressman who no one was ever sure of where he came from — and where he plans to go.
Steve Watkins appeared on the Kansas election scene in 2018 from out of nowhere. Republicans in the statehouse denounced Watkins, mostly on the grounds no one had ever heard of him, his claims seemed to be over the top, and his credentials simply didn't exist. From the Kansas City Star:
"Clearly, this is the way the affluent get their middle-aged kids out of the basement," said state Sen. Steve Fitzgerald, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and one of Watkins' primary foes. Later, he added, "He's a charlatan, a fraud and an opportunist."
But Fitzgerald also said the newcomer probably is leading. The GOP field has seven candidates and because Kansas doesn't hold runoff elections, it's possible to be nominated with less than 30 percent of the vote.
State Senator Fitzgerald and others kept pointing out what could at best be called inconsistencies in Watkin's stories. One of those tall tales finally caught up to him, however, and now, the former Representative admits guilt. The Associated Press offers this take:
Former Congressman Steve Watkins of Kansas has entered a diversion program to avoid trial over allegations that he voted illegally in a 2019 municipal election.
Watkins, a Republican from Topeka who served only one term in the U.S. House, was facing three felony charges. He was accused of listing a postal box at a UPS store as his home on a state registration form when he was living temporarily at his parents' home. He was also charged with lying to a detective who investigated the case.
While the congressman admits to voter fraud, it appears his penalty will be very minor, a $250 fine and an agreement to not possess firearms for 6 months. Watkins refers to the matter as a "mistake," others who have made similar honest mistakes, however, find themselves facing up to 5 years in prison. I guess it pays off to be a wealthy white Republican facing voter fraud charges.
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