Kansas, Florida accuses two people of forging petition signatures – Newstalk KZRG

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Florida and Kansas officials accuse two petition circulators of forging voter signatures during campaigns to put an abortion rights measure on the ballot in Florida and allow the No Labels party to place candidates on the Kansas ballot .

Jamie Johnson, 47, and George Andrews III, 30, both of Dade City, Florida, in the Tampa area, remained in jail Wednesday, each on $150,000 bail. Johnson was held in Sarpy County, Nebraska, south of Omaha, and Andrews in the Tampa area.

In Florida, both face 20 charges, while in Kansas, Andrews faces 30 felonies and Johnson faces 19.

While Andrews has been in custody in Florida since February, authorities in both states were not able to find Johnson until she was arrested in Nebraska a week ago. Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach announced the arrest Tuesday and said he wants to bring Johnson to Kansas for prosecution. An extradition hearing will take place in Nebraska on July 1.

Kobach’s office said Andrews and Johnson together forged at least 46 signatures on petitions to get the centrist No Labels group recognized as a political party in Kansas, allowing it to place nominees on the November ballot.

Florida officials said Andrews and Johnson filed a total of 133 invalid petitions in multiple counties on the November ballot during the effort to pass the abortion rights measure.

Neither successful petition appears to have depended on the signatures the two submitted. In Kansas, No Labels needed more than 20,000, while in Florida it was at least 891,500.

Still, Kobach said that with election fraud, “it doesn’t matter how far you walk.”

“We will drag you back to Kansas and prosecute you,” Kobach said in a statement.

Ryan Clancy, chief strategist for No Labels, said Wednesday that the Kansas case involves a former supplier subcontractor and that suppliers are required to provide training to petition circulators and have a third party verify signatures.

“No label will fully cooperate with any investigation,” Clancy said in an emailed statement.

A public defender representing Andrews in Florida did not return a phone message seeking comment Wednesday. Tom Strigenz, a public defender for Johnson in Nebraska, said she does not have an attorney in Kansas and will fight extradition to both Florida and Kansas.

Stringenz could not say whether Johnson was in Nebraska to distribute petitions for proposed ballot initiatives there. She has no ties to the state, he said.

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