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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirAugust 10, 20173min210

Onetime state GOP chair, conservative stalwart and talk-radio host Steve Curtis — charged in March with voter fraud and forgery in Weld County for allegedly casting his ex-wife’s mail-in ballot in last November’s election — will go to trial Dec. 4.

The Greeley Tribune’s James Redmond reports Curtis pleaded not guilty in District Court in Greeley Wednesday to one count of voter fraud and one count of forgery, a class five felony. He could go to prison for up the three years if convicted.

By way of recap, here’s Denver’s Fox 31-TV at the time of Curtis’s first court appearance on the charges in March:

Weld County Prosecutors discovered the forgery when (former wife) Kelly Curtis called the Weld County Elections Office in October asking how she could vote since she had just moved to South Carolina but was still registered to vote in Colorado.

That’s when she said an election worker told her she had already voted by mail, and the elections office already had her ballot.

…verification judges for the Weld County Clerk and Recorder’s Office got involved.  “We compared her (ballot) signature just to the signatures on her registration,” said Weld County Clerk and Recorder Carly Koppes, who quickly determined the signatures didn’t match but noted the the ballot was sent from Steve Curtis’s home in Firestone, Colo.

He was allowed to remain free following his initial court appearance in Greeley March 21.

Curtis was chair of the state GOP from 1997 to 1999, a tenure marred by infighting that pitted his hardline, pro-life wing of the state party against more moderate elements that included then-Gov. Bill Owens.

As we’ve noted before, Curtis, a vocal death-penalty advocate during his years at the party’s helm, had been a victim in a grisly homicide in 1989 at his southeast Denver home. He was shot and left for dead alongside a roommate who was killed.

Curtis was a talk-radio host on Denver’s KLZ-560 AM radio at the time he was charged last March, but a staffer at the station confirmed today his show no longer is in the station’s lineup.


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningMarch 22, 20178min334

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.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMarch 22, 20174min170

Steve Curtis has been off the statewide radar for a number of years since leading Colorado Republicans in the 1990s, maintaining a more modest profile as a talk-show host on Denver’s KLZ-560 AM radio. Now his name is back in the news, and in a way, it involves politics once again: He has been charged with voter fraud and forgery for casting his ex-wife’s mail-in ballot in last November’s election.

Reports Denver’s Fox 31-TV:

Weld County Prosecutors discovered the forgery when (former wife) Kelly Curtis called the Weld County Elections Office in October asking how she could vote since she had just moved to South Carolina but was still registered to vote in Colorado.

That’s when she said an election worker told her she had already voted by mail, and the elections office already had her ballot.

…verification judges for the Weld County Clerk and Recorder’s Office got involved.  “We compared her (ballot) signature just to the signatures on her registration,” said Weld County Clerk and Recorder Carly Koppes, who quickly determined the signatures didn’t match but noted the the ballot was sent from Steve Curtis’s home in Firestone, Colo.

Curtis appeared in court in Greeley Tuesday and was allowed to leave afterward. He could be sentenced to up to 18 months in jail for the misdemeanor count of election fraud and up to three years in prison for the felony count of forgery, according to Fox 31.

Curtis was chair of the state GOP from 1997 to 1999, a tumultuous tenure riven with factional infighting that pitted his hardline, pro-life, religious wing of the party against more moderate elements that included then-Gov. Bill Owens.

Longtime observers may recall Curtis, a staunch anti-abortion activist and onetime death-penalty advocate, had been a victim in a horrific homicide in 1989 at his southeast Denver home. He was shot and left for dead alongside a roommate who was killed. Recounts the Denver Post:

Prosecution witness Frank Magnuson was killed by two gunmen at a home in Denver’s Bonnie Brae neighborhood. Magnuson was a key witness to a robbery at Denver’s Parkside Cafe.

Also killed was Magnuson’s friend, Dan Smith; another friend, Steve Curtis, was wounded. Curtis went on to become the chairman of the Colorado Republican Party. The murders occurred on the eve of the trial of Roger Young. Magnuson — a busboy at the cafe — was going to testify against Young.

Authorities later proved that Young masterminded and directed the attack from his prison cell. In February 1991, Young also plotted the murder of his wife, but she survived five bullets and later testified against him.

 



Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMarch 9, 20176min80

However much truth there once may have been to the tales of big-city machine politicians summoning whole graveyards, zombie-like, to the polls, the prevailing wisdom is it’s by and large a thing of the past. Certainly, we all hope so, and it is reassuring there is little if any evidence nowadays that a lot of people who shouldn’t be voting, dead or otherwise, are casting ballots en masse.

Of course, allegations of large-scale voting fraud and related abuses still surface reliably from one election to the next — though they rarely if ever are backed up by hard data. Typically, it’s Facebook fodder that gets regurgitated in campaign mailers and the occasional stump speech. Snopes.com could have spun off a separate website last year just to debunk all the claims — some even recycled by the current president — of massive voter fraud.

And when it actually does happen, it seems pretty isolated. Even in Chicago, where it once was thought that old voters never died, they just, well, kept on voting. Shortly before last November’s election, the CBS affiliate there dug up some dead voters in an investigative story. The news team merged Chicago Board of Election voter histories with the death master file from the Social Security Administration and came up with 119 dead people who had voted a total of 229 times in the last decade.

Regrettable, of course, but over a 10-year span in a jurisdiction of over 1.5 million registered voters, that’s not enough to keep one corrupt alderman in office or his nitwit nephew on the city payroll. What’s more, the station learned that most of the miscast ballots were likely clerical errors, involving family members with the same names and addresses. The real takeaway is the low number of such instances uncovered in the story.

It’s kind of a slap at the city’s once-proud reputation for election rigging. The elder Mayor Daley must be spinning in his grave — although he probably didn’t cast a ballot last November, either.

ColoradoPols makes a similar point this week regarding an incident a lot closer to home. Pols informs us of a press release from the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder’s Office in Colorado Springs announcing a conviction in a case of voter fraud from last year. From the clerk’s press statement as quoted by the blog:

Toni Newbill pleaded guilty to voting twice under Colorado Revised Statute 1-13-710. The penalty for this crime includes probation, community service, a fine, and other court fees. Ms. Newbill attempted to cast Ralph Nanninga’s ballot in the 2016 Primary Election. Mr. Nanninga passed away in 2012.

The press release quotes Clerk and Recorder Chuck Broerman:

“Our office takes voter fraud seriously and we’re committed to combating it in every form. We’ll continue to work with various agencies to prevent voter fraud, clean up registration lists, and prosecute those who try to abuse our democratic system.”

Not one to miss a chance to zing the Grand Old Party, Pols scores a direct hit:

To say that Republican elected officials “take voter fraud seriously” is a bit of an understatement, since vote fraud claims formed an outsize component of Republican pre-election messaging in the 2016 elections…

…But never mind all that, now we’ve got a real-life voter who has pled guilty to voting twice! Surely that confirms Republicans’ worst fears of rampant voter fraud, right? The answer is no, for two reasons. The first is that this conviction is evidence the system works. The attempt in this case by a Colorado voter to cast two ballots was not successful, because the voter in question, Toni Newbill, was caught.

And the second reason? Toni Newbill is a registered Republican. The election in which she attempted to cast two ballots was the 2016 primary election…

It turns out that a dead Republican can vote just like a dead Democrat. More to Pols’s point, though, the perp got caught. And the blog gives credit to another Republican for attesting to the overall integrity of the system:

It’s true that Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, a Republican himself, pushed back on Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated accusations that the “election is rigged,” but that didn’t stop the rumors from spreading within conservative media.

Alas, we’ll never stop the rumors, but in all likelihood, those who oversee our elections will stop the dead from voting and prosecute their living accomplices.


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John TomasicJohn TomasicFebruary 16, 20173min180

If anyone could prevent President Donald Trump from trotting out another lurid, baseless allegation of widespread voter fraud, it might be affable and informed Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams. Williams this week has descended into the belly of the beast: He is in Washington DC, where labor secretary nominees and national security advisors come and go and where one-state and two-state solutions can work because, sure, whatever the Israeli and Palestinian leaders think is best, why not, we could live with either one.



Peter MarcusPeter MarcusJanuary 25, 20175min11
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams is reaffirming the integrity of the state’s elections system even as President Donald Trump alleges instances of voter fraud nationwide. Williams, a Republican, said Colorado employs safeguards to make sure elections are secure. “In Colorado, our clerks and our judges prevent the overwhelming majority of attempts to vote that are […]

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Colorado PoliticsColorado PoliticsOctober 27, 201619min180

DENVER - Happy Thursday from all of us here at The Colorado Statesman. Call it voter fatigue or possibly apathy, but mainstream media appears to have run out of steam. Don’t you think? For many of those reporters, the 2016 election can’t end fast enough. Now that voter guides are posted, endorsements are proclaimed, most media outlets are looking forward to the post election night parties … Sadly, many voters may agree ... But "don't let it end!" say political wonks everywhere already in search of their next gig. The First Shot “I’m just glad I wasn’t in there when he was in there … I would’ve sacked him. I really would’ve did that. The both of them.” — Broncos linebacker DeMarcus Ware after learning police had caught the thieves who broke into his home