House Approves Bill Upping Secretary of State’s Power

The House has approved a bill that would give Kansas’ secretary of state the power to prosecute election fraud.

The chamber’s 67-55 vote Thursday sends the measure to Republican Gov. Sam Brownback.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has sought prosecutorial authority on election fraud cases since taking office in 2011. He has also authored state laws requiring voters to present photo ID.

The bill would also stiffen penalties for election fraud crimes and allow organizations to reward voters with gifts worth less than $3.

Several lawmakers have questioned the necessity of the bill, saying there are relatively few recorded instances of election fraud. Others expressed concern that Kobach might bring charges when prosecutors believed people did not intentionally break the law.