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Two People Are Being Charged in Florida and Kansas With Faking Petition Signatures


TOPEKA, Kan.— People in charge in both Florida and Kansas say that two people who passed out petitions for an abortion rights measure in Florida and candidates for the No Labels party in Kansas for forged voter signatures during campaigns.

Both Jamie Johnson, 47, and George Andrews III, 30, are from Dade City, Florida, which is near Tampa. They were both arrested on Wednesday and were being held in jail on $150,000 bail each. Johnson was being held in Nebraska’s Sarpy County, which is south of Omaha. Andrews was being held in the Tampa area.

In Florida, they are each charged with 20 felonies. In Kansas, Andrews is charged with 30 felonies and Johnson is charged with 19.

Andrews has been in jail in Florida since February, but Johnson hadn’t been found by police in either state until she was caught in Nebraska a week ago. Kris Kobach, the attorney general of Kansas, announced the arrest on Tuesday and said he wants to bring Johnson to Kansas to be charged. She is set to have a deportation hearing in Nebraska on July 1.

Kobach’s office said that Andrews and Johnson faked at least 46 signatures on petitions to make the moderate No Labels group a legal political party in Kansas. This would let the group put candidates on the November ticket.

Officials in Florida said that Andrews and Johnson sent in a total of 133 fake signatures in several counties to get the abortion rights measure on the November ballot.

The two people’s signatures don’t seem to have been important to either of the successful petition drives. As many as more than 20,000 were needed in Kansas, and at least 891,500 were needed in Florida.

“It doesn’t matter how far you run” when it comes to election fraud, Kobach said.

Kobach said in a statement, “We will track you down in Kansas and bring charges against you.”

Ryan Clancy, the chief planner for No Labels, said on Wednesday that the Kansas case involves a former vendor’s subcontractor and that vendors must train petition circulators and have a third party check the signatures.

“Any investigation will receive full cooperation from No Labels,” Clancy said in an email.

A public defender in Florida who is defending Andrews did not answer the phone Wednesday when asked for comment. Johnson’s public defender in Nebraska, Tom Strigenz, said that she does not have a lawyer in Kansas and that she will fight being sent to Florida or Kansas.

Stringent wasn’t sure if Johnson was in Nebraska to hand out petitions for ballot measures that were being considered there. He said she has no ties to the state.

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