July 15 (UPI) — U.S. Rep. Steve Watkins was charged with three felonies and a misdemeanor Tuesday in an investigation into whether he voted illegally in a municipal election in 2019.
District Attorney Mike Kagay filed four counts against Watkins, R-Kansas, including felony interference with law enforcement by providing false information, voting without being qualified and unlawful advanced voting in addition to a misdemeanor charge of failing to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles of a change of address.
The charges of interference and unlawful advance voting carry sentences of five to 17 months in prison while sentences for voting without being qualified range from 11 to 34 months.
Charges against Watkins stem from 2019 local elections, during which Watkins listed a UPS store address on his voter registration.
He has stated he listed the address by mistake, as he used the store as a mailing address for his campaign and later changed the address on his voter registration to an apartment complex in Topeka.
Watkins, who is serving in his first term, described the timing of the charges as “hyper political” and “very suspicious,” saying the district attorney shares a consultant with one of his opponents in the state’s primary.
“We’ve cooperated with the district attorney completely,” he said. “I look forward to clearing my name.”