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.