The 2016 election was just a month away when Steve Curtis, a conservative radio host and former Colorado Republican Party chairman, devoted an entire episode of his morning talk show to the heated topic of voter fraud.
On Tuesday, Colorado prosecutors threw a wrench into that already dubious theory, accusing Curtis of voter fraud for allegedly filling out and mailing in his ex-wife’s 2016 ballot for president, Denver’s Fox affiliate reported.
Curtis, 57, was charged in Weld County District Court with one count of misdemeanor voter fraud and one count of forgery, a Class 5 felony, according to local media.
The case is the only voter fraud investigation related to the 2016 election that has resulted in criminal charges in the state, the Colorado secretary of state’s office told Denver’s ABC affiliate.
Curtis has not entered a plea. If convicted, he could face more than a year of prison time and a $5,000 fine. His attorney, Christopher Gregory, declined to comment on the case when reached by The Washington Post Tuesday night.
Voter fraud was an explosive issue throughout the election. Republicans have long insisted, with little evidence, that the practice is rampant, and have passed legislation in some states making it harder to vote. As a candidate, Donald Trump repeatedly claimed with no evidence that the election was “rigged” against him because of fraud, threatening to reject the results if they weren’t to his liking.
After Trump entered the White House, he continued to allege widespread voter fraud, claiming again without evidence that between 3 million and 5 million illegal votes were cast. Within days of taking office, he called for a “major investigation.” So far, the probe has not materialized in any meaningful way.
Officials in Weld County, Colo., said they learned of Curtis’s allegedly fraudulent ballot when his ex-wife, Kelly Curtis, called the local elections office in October asking how she could cast a vote by mail in Colorado from her new home in South Carolina, Fox 31 reported.
An election worker reportedly told her the office had already received her ballot. Per Fox 31:
“I was just completely stunned. I thought there had to be some kind of mistake,” said Kelly Curtis.That’s when 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 ballot was sent from Steve Curtis’s home in Firestone, Colo.
The Weld County district attorney’s office opened an investigation, filing a criminal complaint on Feb. 1, the Denver Post reported.
In court Tuesday, Curtis’s attorney reportedly asked the judge to impose a gag order to prevent prosecutors from discussing the case. The judge rejected the request, according to Fox 31. Curtis is due back in court in May.
Curtis served as chairman of the Colorado Republican Party from 1997 to 1999. In 2011, he made a brief reentry into state politics when he oversaw the advisory board for the Denver Tea Party Patriots, ABC 7 reported.
He hosts a talk radio show on KLZ-AM (560) The Source, a station based out of Aurora, Colo. Airing weekdays from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m., “Wake Up! with Steve Curtis” bills itself as “aggressive political, social, and spiritual dialogue” that aims to “unmask those right under our noses or across the country, who are trying to undermine or destroy our game plans and, most importantly, our constitutional powers.”
On his Oct. 6 show, Curtis delved into what he called the “sordid history” of voter fraud with guest Kevin Collins, author of “The Dirty Locked Away History of the Democrat Party.”
During the segment, titled “Voter Fraud and Other Democratic Misbehaviors,” Curtis and Collins alleged that the practice was essentially unique to Democrats.
“Voter fraud is not an easy crime to commit,” Collins said at the beginning of the show. “It needs a certain cadre of devoted criminal Democrats to carry it out.”
Curtis agreed. There was “something about being a Democrat,” he said, that made people prone to criminal behavior. At multiple points, the two brought up fraudulent mail-in ballots and “double voting” specifically. They predicted a crackdown on voter fraud if Trump became president but expressed concerns that their votes wouldn’t be counted in the upcoming election.
“I expect any day now that I’m going to be getting my ballot in the mail,” Curtis said. “This is one year I’m gonna jump right on it. I’m gonna make sure that if I get hit by a bus in the next 30 days that my vote for Donald Trump is already in the system.”
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