GREELEY, Colo. -- The former chairman of Colorado's Republican Party has been charged with voter fraud and forgery. Steve Curtis, 57, is accused of filling out and mailing in his ex-wife's ballot for the 2016 presidential election.
Curtis was the state's GOP chairman from 1997 to 1999 and currently hosts a talk radio show on KLZ-560 AM.
He made his first court appearance Tuesday morning in Weld County to be advised of the charges against him.
"We're not going to talk about this," Curtis said when asked if he voted for his ex-wife in November.
He ignored repeated questions about whether the charges undermine his credibility as a political radio host and former state party chairman.
His ex-wife, Kelly Curtis, was less shy when reached by phone in South Carolina.
"I was livid over the whole situation, definitely," she said.
Curtis said she left her husband after just nine months of marriage.
"I didn't feel it was an equal partnership, I'll just leave it at that," she said.
Still, the 49-year old said she never predicted her ex-husband would allegedly mail in her ballot and sign her name.
"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.
Weld County prosecutors discovered the forgery when Kelly Curtis called the Weld County Elections Office in October asking how she could vote because 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.
"I was just completely stunned. I thought there had to be some kind of mistake," Kelly Curtis said.
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' home in Firestone.
Koppes is a first-term Republican who said she had no idea Steve Curtis used to the state's party chairman.
"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 said.
In court, Curtis' defense attorney asked the judge to impose a gag order to keep prosecutors from talking to the media about the case.
The judge declined. After the hearing, Curtis' defense attorney asked Weld County sheriff's deputies to escort him to his vehicle in order to avoid any more questions from the FOX31 Problem Solvers.
Curtis faces 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.
Curtis' bosses at Crawford Broadcasting in Dallas said Curtis is innocent until proven guilty and it has no intention of taking disciplinary action unless and until he's convicted.
But his ex-wife suspects Curtis has hurt his credibility with his radio listeners.
"For somebody that speaks out for the Constitution and voters rights and our right as U.S. citizens, it definitely goes against what he talks about on his shows and how he lives his life as everyone has their right to vote," she said.
Five months ago, Curtis discussed the topic of voter fraud on his radio show.