Last week, Steve Curtis, a conservative talk radio host and the former Colorado Republican Party chairman, was charged with forgery and voter fraud in a Weld County, Colorado court.
The charges stem from an incident before the 2016 presidential election, when the radio host's ex-wife, Kelly Curtis, called the Weld County election officials to ask if she could send in an absentee from South Carolina, where she had recently moved and had not yet registered to vote. Upon calling, she learned that a ballot was already registered in her name, according to reports. An investigation by the county clerk-recorder later showed that the signature on the ballot did not match the one on file for Kelly Curtis, and authorities implicated her ex-husband in the forgery.
Ironically, Curtis had made wild claims of rampant voter fraud on his local radio show "Wake Up"—which airs on KLZ-AM The Source—as election day neared. He devoted an entire episode to the topic last October, titled "Voter Fraud and Other Democratic Misbehaviors." Curtis, along with a guest who had written a book called The Dirty Locked Away History of the Democrat Party [sic], discussed how Democrats are constantly committing voter fraud. Neither man presented any evidence of this, but nonetheless they claimed that "a devoted cadre of criminal Democrats are [carrying] it out," and that poll watchers and voter ID laws, which often keep poor people of color from voting, are necessary to stamp out this behavior.
"Virtually every case of voter fraud I can remember in my lifetime was committed by Democrats," Curtis told his guest. "Am I onto something here, or do I just not have the facts?"
"Absolutely," his guest agreed, presumably answering the former question. They went on to talk about how George Soros, the liberal billionaire and a figure on whom many right-wing conspiracies converge, was rumored to have a foiled plan to "change all the votes" in the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections. They also lamented get-out-the-vote efforts, which they said encourage "uneducated" people and "millennials" to descend on the polls—people who, unlike themselves, "don't follow the issues."
Virtually every case of voter fraud I can remember in my lifetime was committed by Democrats.
Of course, conversations like these were the norm for those on the right as the election cycle came to a close. Other Republican pundits, along racist militias, were similarly whipped into a frenzy over potential voter fraud by Democrats and undocumented immigrants. Donald Trump himself has even maintained that "millions" of undocumented immigrants voted illegally in the 2016 election, which isn't true.
At his arraignment last Tuesday, Curtis—a Republican—was formally charged with one count of misdemeanor voter fraud and one count of forgery, a Class 5 felony. In an interview with a local news station, Kelly Curtis said she was "completely stunned" when she found out her ex-husband allegedly mailed in her ballot and forged her signature.
"It was demeaning and presumptuous, and I had no idea what would go on in someone's mind to cast my ballot for me illegally, actually to go to all the trouble to forge my ballot," Kelly Curtis said. "There's a little bit of irony in it, but I don't care who you are or what you've formally have done, it's just not OK to do it," she added.
In the beginning of the episode of "Wake Up" dedicated to voter fraud, after 80s-style synth music plays, Curtis remarks, "If you thought this was an issue that was far, far, far in the past, well, you'd be wrong." I guess we would be.