Kansas election fraud defendant arrested in Florida

DADE CITY, Fla. – A Florida man is under arrest after being charged with election fraud in Kansas.

George Andrews, 30 of Dade City, Florida, was arrested on Feb. 10 for forging signatures on petitions to make “No Labels” an officially recognized political party in Kansas, according to a press release from the Kansas Attorney General’s office.

“The arrested individual was part of a scheme to defraud Kansas voters by placing their forged signatures on petitions. In Kansas, we take election fraud seriously, and we will prosecute every case where the evidence indicates a crime has been committed beyond a reasonable doubt,” Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach said.

The arrest comes following an extensive investigation by the Kansas Attorney General’s Office.

Andrews is charged with two counts of election perjury and 28 counts of election forgery. He was arrested on Feb. 10 in Dade City, Florida. Pending extradition to Kansas, Andrews will appear in Johnson County District Court.

News Channel 8 in Tampa reported Andrews and another man, Jamie L. Johnson, 47, were charged earlier in February on similar allegations related to false signatures in a Florida ballot initiative related to their work as paid signature collectors.

According to FDLE, officials with the Election Crimes Division began investigating the pair after they submitted 133 invalid petitions in Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas and Sumter counties for an abortion rights ballot initiative. The alleged fraudulent signatures didn’t make a dent in the measure’s overall count, which is approaching one million valid signatures, well exceeding the 891,523 required to qualify for the ballot.

Andrews and Johnson were charged with criminal use of personal identification information (10 counts) and signing another person’s name or a fictitious name to a petition (10 counts). Andrews was booked into the Hernando County Jail, but Johnson has yet to be arrested.

The pair may face additional charges, according to FDLE.In 2015, the legislature gave the Attorney General’s Office and the Secretary of State’s Office the authority to prosecute elections crimes in Kansas. When Kobach was Secretary of State, he successfully prosecuted 12 cases of election fraud, including double voting and non-citizen voting. Kobach is the first Kansas Attorney General to exercise the authority to prosecute election crimes.

Dane Hicks is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and the United States Marine Corps Officer Candidate School at Quantico, VA. He is the author of novels "The Skinning Tree" and "A Whisper For Help." As publisher of the Anderson County Review in Garnett, KS., he is a recipient of the Kansas Press Association's Boyd Community Service Award as well as more than 60 awards for excellence in news, editorial and photography.

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