DOJ announces federal oversight plan for Kansas elections
Kansans can begin casting their votes Wednesday for the November general election. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — Federal officials on Tuesday announced plans to install oversight of the Kansas voting process ahead of the November general election.

Jared Maag, district election officer for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas, will field Election Day complaints, voting rights concerns and election fraud issues.

Tuesday was the last day for Kansans to register to vote in the November general election. Advanced voting by mail and in person begins Wednesday.

The Department of Justice said it will protect the integrity of the election process by halting intimidation and discrimination at the polls, and addressing threats of violence against poll workers and election officials.

“The franchise is the cornerstone of American democracy. We all must ensure that those who are entitled to the franchise can exercise it if they choose, and that those who seek to corrupt it are brought to justice,” U.S. attorney Duston Slinkard said in a statement.

Maag’s oversight is supposed to promote public confidence in election security, which has been plagued by claims of voter fraud for the past few years. There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud, and election officials say elections are secure.

Public figures like Kris Kobach, the GOP candidate for Kansas attorney general, and former President Donald Trump have used voter fraud myths to support laws that make voting more difficult for citizens.

During Kobach’s two terms as Kansas secretary of state, an office he held from 2011-2019, he pushed a law requiring residents to prove their citizenship before registering to vote. The law prevented more than 30,000 eligible voters from participating in elections and cost the state $1.9 million in fees and expenses. Kobach faces Democrat Chris Mann in this year’s attorney general race.

Current Secretary of State Scott Schwab, the state’s top elections officer, affirmed the security of the 2020 Kansas elections, while other Republicans, such as U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall and Reps. Jake LaTurner, Ron Estes and Tracey Mann, voted to overturn the presidential election. Schwab, who is seeking reelection this year against Democrat Jeanna Repass, has continued to affirm the security of Kansas elections.

Allegations of election fraud and election abuses can be reported to the local FBI field office at (816) 512-8200 or to Maag by calling (785) 295-2850. Violations of federal voting rights can be reported to the Civil Rights Division in Washington, DC by phone at (800) 253-3931 or through a complaint form at https://civilrights.justice.gov/.

Kansas Reflector is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Kansas Reflector maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sherman Smith for questions: info@kansasreflector.com. Follow Kansas Reflector on Facebook and Twitter.