Zombie voter bites Jon Keyser’s U.S. Senate bid in Colorado

Daniel Hollister

File this one under “One thing a Republican candidate never wants to see”: A dead voter’s signature on a petition to get him on the ballot.

But that’s the allegation from Colorado’s Republican Secretary of State, Wayne Williams, who today released a statement saying he “notified the Denver district attorney that a petition circulator turned in the signature of a deceased voter.”

In recent years, Republicans across the country have over-hyped inaccurate reports of “zombie voters,” fear mongering about in-person voter fraud, which is extremely rare. They’ve done this while trying to enact restrictive voting measures to make voting more difficult.

The dead voter’s signature here in Colorado, which was rejected, appeared among petitions that helped Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jon Keyser get on the June primary ballot. Keyser’s campaign had to gather 1,500 valid signatures from Republican voters in each of the state’s seven congressional districts in order to qualify for the primary. His campaign contracted with a Republican-leaning firm, Clear Creek, which outsourced work to a Democratic-leaning firm, Black Diamond, to gather the petitions.

The Secretary of State’s office stated Keyser didn’t have enough signatures when his campaign handed them in, but his campaign sued, and a judge allowed Keyser on the ballot. Since then, Denver7 TV reporter Marshall Zelinger found at least 13 forged signatures on Keyser’s petitions. Keyser told The Denver Post the forged signatures are a “very serious thing.”

A 34-year-old combat veteran, lawyer, and former lawmaker who has establishment Republican backing in the race, Keyser will remain on the ballot because of a court order despite the forgeries and allegations of a dead voter’s John Hancock on his petitions.

In 2013, Keyser himself got into the voter fraud fray when he suggested he had improperly received duplicate ballots in the mail. It turned out that wasn’t the case. Colorado Democrats that year had passed a package of voting laws that made voting easier, especially by allowing Coloradans to vote entirely by mail, and Keyser’s suggestion was the new election laws weren’t working properly.

“C’mon Man!” he’d tweeted, including the hashtag #FailedSystem.

[Photo credit: Daniel Hollister via Creative Commons on Flickr]