Kansas freshman GOP Rep. Watkins charged with 3 felonies
TOPEKA, Kan. – A freshman Kansas congressman who had listed a UPS Inc. store as his residence on a voter registration was charged Tuesday with three felonies, including illegal voting.
Republican Rep. Steve Watkins is accused of voting illegally in advance in the 2019 local city and school board election, voting when not qualified and interfering with law enforcement by providing false information. Those felony charges were filed in state district court in Shawnee County, which includes Watkins' hometown of Topeka.
District Attorney Mike Kagay also filed a misdemeanor charge of failing to notify the state Division of Vehicles of a change in addresses.
Kagay, a Republican, announced the charges Tuesday evening, shortly before Watkins and his two opponents in the Aug. 4 Republican primary had their first and only televised debate. Watkins called the charges "hyper-partisan" because of the timing and said he's done nothing wrong.
Watkins filed a voter registration form in late August 2019 on which he listed a postal box at a UPS store in southwest Topeka. That UPS box was listed as his residential address when he cast a ballot that included a Topeka City Council race in November.
Watkins later listed the address for an apartment complex about 2 miles north of the UPS store as his residence, then corrected his voter registration form in mid-January to list an apartment number.