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Former Colorado GOP chair Steve Curtis faces voter fraud charges after allegedly filling out ex-wife’s ballot

Author: Ernest Luning - March 22, 2017 - Updated: March 22, 2017

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Radio talk show host Steve Curtis is pictured in this court-ordered photo taken on Tuesday, March 21, 2017, at a court appearance on felony and misdemeanor charges alleging he forged his wife’s signature on a mail ballot and voted with it in the November election. (Photo via 19th Judicial District attorney’s office)

Just days before allegedly forging his former wife’s signature on a mail ballot and fraudulently voting in the November election, Steve Curtis, a former Colorado Republican Party chairman, railed against the “crooked Democrats” and their propensity to commit voter fraud in an hour-long interview on the conservative morning radio talk show he hosts.

“We’re going to talk about voter fraud, and if you thought this was an issue that was far, far in the past, you would be wrong,” Curtis says as he welcomes his guest, author Kevin Collins, to the Oct. 6 “Wake Up!” show on KLZ-560 AM.

Curtis and Collins, author of “The Dirty Locked Away History of the Democratic Party,” spend the early morning hour warning listeners about the “long, sordid history of this malady,” as the show describes the scourge of voter fraud.

“It seems to me, and correct me if I’m wrong, that virtually every case of voter fraud I can remember in my lifetime was committed by Democrats,” Curtis says at one point. “Am I on to something here, or do I just not have the facts?”

“Absolutely,” Collins replies.

Weld County prosecutors on Feb. 1 filed a felony forgery charge and a misdemeanor count of election fraud against Curtis, who chaired the state GOP for a two-year term from 1997 to 1999. He made his first court appearance in Greeley on Tuesday but didn’t enter a plea.

According to Denver’s Fox31, Curtis’s ex-wife, Kelly Curtis, became alarmed when she called the Weld County clerk and recorder’s office in October to inquire about her ballot, since she had recently moved to South Carolina but was still registered in Colorado. It turned out her ballot had already been received by the clerk, whose staff determined it didn’t bear her signature but had been mailed from her ex-husband’s home in Firestone, officials told the station.

In the radio interview with Collins, Curtis says he’s had a longstanding curiosity about voter fraud and muses aloud about “how easy it would be” to commit.

“This is something I’ve wondered about for a couple of decades, really,” Curtis says.

“We must be eternally vigilant against the crooked Democrats who win, in many cases, only because they have cheated and committed voter fraud,” Collins responds. “Voter fraud is not an easy crime to commit,” Collins says later, adding, “It needs a certain cadre of devoted criminal Democrats to carry it out.”

Collins says that when authorities unearth and prosecute cases of voter fraud it can have “a chilling effect” on others contemplating the crime. He also warns that the “mail-in vote” has been “an awful, awful assault on our voting security.”

That’s when Curtis brings up his own ballot, which was scheduled to arrive in the mail in about 10 days, according to the state’s election calendar.

“I expect any day now I’m going to get my ballot in the mail,” he says. “It’s going to come in — this is one year I’m going to jump right on it. I’m going to make sure that if I get hit by a bus in the next 30 days, my vote is in the system.”

Curtis makes it crystal clear he intended to vote for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, maintaining that President Barack Obama had only managed to win office — twice — because of “stupid, stupid voters” who have fallen for the “ongoing propaganda campaign” delivered by the mainstream media.

Then he wonders aloud how widespread voter fraud might really be.

“We’re always told it’s very very rare, and then, every once in a while, you see another case that comes to light,” Curtis says. “I would think, No. 1, it would be kind of hard to detect voter fraud, because most people aren’t out there looking for it.”

A spokeswoman for the Colorado secretary of state’s office told The Colorado Statesman that the charges against Curtis appear to be the only ones Colorado prosecutors have so far filed resulting from last year’s election.

Voter fraud, Collins interjects at one point, “is evil done by evil people.”

Curtis then ponders whether being a Democrat leads to voter fraud or the other way around, calling it a classic “chicken-and-egg” head-scratcher.

“It seems like there’s something about being a Democrat that lends people to criminal behavior, or something about being prone to criminal behavior that draws people to the Democrat Party,” he says.

“What’s going on when you’re looking at the psychology of people that commit voter fraud?” Curtis wants to know. “Is it simply that they believe the end justifies the means in every case?”

“It’s just, shine the light on it, keep the light on and the rats stay in the corner with the lights on,” Collins said.

Curtis sounds curious about the penalty for voter fraud.

“What is the penalty? Is it a perjury penalty? What is the penalty for knowingly committing voter fraud?” Curtis asks. “I really don’t know.”

It turns out that the misdemeanor charge Curtis is facing for allegedly filling out his ex-wife’s ballot carries a penalty of up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine, while the felony he’s facing for allegedly forging her signature on the ballot could carry up to three years incarceration.

Collins assures listeners that Trump will stamp out voter fraud if he’s elected.

“I guarantee you that under a President Trump, the U.S. attorneys … will take an interest in that. And just an interest in it will pour cold water on people’s desire to do it,” Collins says.

People who commit voter fraud, he adds, “have a lot to lose.”

“Right,” Curtis says. “Right.”

Curtis’s next court date is May 12.

— ernest@coloradostatesman.com

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. Since 2009, he has been the senior political reporter and occasional editor for The Colorado Statesman.


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