Even without Trump’s voter fraud commission, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach hasn’t let up in his pursuit of finding and prosecuting any illegal voting in his home state. In January, Kobach filed his latest charges against a 67-year-old cattle rancher and the youngest criminal voter yet, 20-year-old Bailey McCaughey.
In 2016, McCaughey was home in Colorado for a rodeo tournament when she filled out an mail-in ballot for the presidential election. She returned to college in Kansas that fall, forgetting about the ballot she’d left at home on the kitchen counter, and voted again with friends on election day. It wasn’t until her mom called a few days later to tell her she’d mailed her ballot that Bailey realized she’d voted twice — both times for Donald Trump.
A few months later, Kobach came calling. McCaughey says that a detective from Kobach’s office contacted her in August 2017, and that she was upfront with him about mistakenly voting twice. They met once at a Starbucks in Garden City, Kansas and he reassured her that the charges would likely be dropped. McCaughey says she was never contacted by anyone from the secretary of state’s office again. (Kobach and the secretary of state’s office did not respond to multiple interview requests from VICE News.)
In January 2018, McCaughey learned from a reporter that Kobach had filed two felony charges against her: election perjury and voting more than once, the latter of which carries a jail sentence of up to 13 months.
Kobach is the first and only secretary of state in the country with the power to prosecute these kinds of cases. In 2015, he convinced the state legislature to give him prosecutorial authority, arguing that widespread voter fraud warranted it. But in three years since, he’s charged just 15 people, only two of which have been noncitizens.
VICE News went to Kansas to see what it’s like when Kobach comes after you.
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