An affidavit filed by a Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office detective in the criminal case against U.S. Rep. Steve Watkins alleges that he told the detective he didn’t "intend to mislead anyone" when he listed his residential address as a UPS Store.
In the eight-page affidavit, which was requested by The Topeka Capital-Journal, detective Stephanie Dicken outlined a discussion in which she spoke with Watkins about his voter registration, voting in the wrong Topeka City Council district and listing his address as the UPS Store.
Watkins has been charged with three felonies and one misdemeanor including voting without being qualified, unlawful advance voting, interference with law enforcement involving providing false information and failing to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles of a change of address.
Dicken began investigating Watkins in December 2019 after The Capital-Journal reported the congressman had listed his address on his voter registration card as the UPS Store located at 6021 S.W. 29th St.
Dicken said she obtained several election related documents, including a copy of Watkins’ 2017 Kansas Voter Registration Application, a screenshot from the election office that indicated an address change to the UPS Store took place in August 2019 and a copy of Watkins’ advance ballot by mail application in which he listed the UPS store as his home address.
Because Watkins reported his residence as being the UPS Store, he then received the wrong ballot for the November 2019 local election, Dicken wrote in the affidavit.
Dicken said that on Dec. 12, 2019, she received a screenshot from the election office that showed Watkins had filed an address change on Dec. 6, 2019. That change was completed online through the DMV.
Dicken wrote in the affidavit she met with Watkins and his attorneys Lucinda Luetkemeyer and Todd Graves on Feb. 10.
Watkins provided Dicken with a typed statement in which he listed his educational background, the affidavit said.
"I discussed specific elections related documents with Mr. Watkins during our interview," Dicken wrote. "I showed him the screen capture for his address change on his voter registration dated Aug. 28, 2019. He told me the document sounds right and looks right. I asked Mr. Watkins if he completed the address change in a DMV office or online. He told me he did not have any memory of that."
Dicken noted that Watkins confirmed in the typed statement he listed his mailing address, the UPS Store, when he registered to vote but later changed it when he realized he was supposed to list a residential address.
Dicken then showed Watkins a copy of his Oct. 28, 2019, advance ballot application, the affidavit said.
"He told me it wasn’t his handwriting or signature on the document but he would have authorized a staffer to complete that document for him," Dicken said.
Watkins was then shown a copy of his Nov. 4, 2019, ballot return envelope, Dicken said.
"He explained this looked more like his handwriting and signature, but he did not have any memory of signing that particularly," she wrote. "I asked Mr. Watkins if he was aware that he may have voted in the wrong city council election. He advised he was aware of that. I asked Mr. Watkins if he intended to vote in the wrong city council election. He responded, no ma’am. He went on to tell me that he didn’t actually vote for city council. I explained there is no way for us to verify that and he acknowledged he knows that."
Dicken said Watkins told her he moves a lot and that he wasn’t trying to claim the UPS Store as his residential address.
In June, Dicken received copies of mail-in ballots that included Watkins’.
"Therefore, Mr. Watkins’ statement to me that he did not vote in the city council district 8 election is presumed to be false," Dicken wrote.