More Cheap Ballot Tricks, Clarice Navarro-Ratzlaff Edition

Rep. Clarice Navarro-Ratzlaff (R).

Rep. Clarice Navarro-Ratzlaff (R).

Back in October, we took note of claims by a Jefferson County GOP Colorado House candidate, attorney Jon Keyser, that he had "received two mail in ballots" for the 2013 elections. Keyser took to social media right away with photos of his "two ballots," pronouncing them evidence of a "failed system" for voting in Colorado. Keyser's "two ballots" came at a time when Republicans were doing and saying anything they could to undermine confidence in the election process, principally to cast doubt on 2013's election modernization bill House Bill 1303.

As it turned out, Keyser was engaged in a cheap deception to reinforce GOP claims that the election system is "broken." The second ballot Keyser received was for a tax district special election related to property Keyser owns on the West Slope. At no time did Keyser receive two ballots with duplicate ballot questions that would allow him to vote twice, which was his clear implication. After the source of Keyser's "second ballot" was tracked down to Delta County, Keyser claimed to have shredded the ballots. By that time, the game was already up.

Well folks, as the Colorado Independent's John Tomasic reported late last night, Jon Keyser may not have been the only Colorado Republican politician playing games with their ballots:

Lawmaker Clarice Navarro-Ratzlaff represents one of the state’s most competitive districts, House District 47. She held a fundraiser cocktail party tonight at the Warwick Hotel here that surely attracted many of the state’s top Republican politicos. The list likely includes Secretary of State Scott Gessler. The two are friendly. Navarro-Ratzlaff endorsed him for governor this summer, and Gessler sent out a tweet earlier in the day recruiting fundraiser attendees. It’s a safe bet the two worked together to fire up the Warwick cocktail crowd by talking about the need to guard against voter fraud. It wouldn’t be the first time they worked together to stoke heat around an issue that galvanizes Republican voters in the state.

Gessler and Navarro-Ratzlaff were the exclusive sources for a 2012 version of what has become a fairly regular series of headline-grabbing but loosely reported election-integrity stories pushed by the right-wing blogosphere to bolster arguments that laws that encourage voting by making it easier to cast ballots — like those that allow for same-day registration and universal mail-in ballots — should be repealed and replaced with stricter voter ID laws.

Channel 5 KOAA in Pueblo reported that some voters in the county had received duplicate ballots. It later came out that double ballots went out to roughly 200 of the county’s 60,000 registered voters…

Navarro-Ratzlaff said she was one of the voters who received two ballots.

“It makes you question how valid each election is, and elections are very important to the state of Colorado and Pueblo in general,” she told viewers. “So it’s very concerning.”

…KOAA didn’t report that Navarro-Ratzlaff was running for the statehouse in a competitive swing district that year. And Navarro-Ratzlaff didn’t tell viewers that the reason she received two ballots was because she had registered under two different names in a two-week period after moving to Pueblo the year before. [Pols emphasis]

According to Bent and Pueblo county documents reviewed by the Independent, Navarro-Ratzlaff registered on September 30, 2011, as Clarice Yvette Navarro, her maiden name, and on October 14, 2011, as Clarice Yvette Ratzlaff, her married name.

Now according to the Independent, Rep. Clarice Navarro-Ratzlaff claims she has "no idea" why she apparently registered twice under her maiden and married names. The Bent County clerk interviewed for the story says that these sort of mistakes happen, generally as a result of the voter's mistake, saying "people are often distracted when filling out the forms." The problem is, Navarro-Raztlaff told the Independent she's been married for ten years, that her married name is what's on her license, and she can't explain the use of her maiden name in any voter registration.

So what gives? With Mr. Keyser's example to guide us, we have a theory.

This incident took place during a heated court battle between Pueblo County Clerk Gilbert Ortiz and Secretary of State Scott Gessler over the delivery of mail ballots for the 2011 elections. Along with the as-yet unknown number of duplicate ballots mistakenly sent to voters, later determined to be about 200 and which were all identified and caught, it's easy to understand how Gessler could have used a little, you know, extra boost for his case in the media against "Bo" Ortiz. Then candidate, now Rep. Navarro-Ratzlaff was happy to oblige.

By the look of things today, it seems she was a bit too happy.

18 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. JBJK16 says:

     Despite this making her look like a cheating liar, it still makes the point that registering falsely is too easy.   Why no photo I'd again?

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      . . . apparently it's easier for Republicans, than others??

    • rathmone says:

      Despite your opening clause summarizing the article in its entirety, you've in fact missed the point that the system worked exactly as designed. Had she tried to vote the second ballot, she would have been caught. 

    • BlueCatBlueCat says:

      And apparently it's easily caught, requiring no new draconian measures and there isn't a shred of evidence that any election outcome has been affected. So we all (including Gessler and all his supporters in this effort) know the purpose of the constant chicken little voter fraud hysteria alarms:  A desperate rear guard action in the face of inevitable demographic change.  Isn't it time to drop the fantasy that this is anything other than attempts to suppress the Dem leaning vote? It's not as if Rs aren't always admitting it, bragging about how various measures they've passed in various states will help them win because we all know (including Rs) that lower turn out benefits Rs, higher turn out benefits Ds. Rs just hate the participation of "those people"  in the inconvenient (for Rs) democratic process. 

    • Because she could just as easily change that?

      My personal feeling on this one is that this should have been caught during registration by comparing various bits of data in a database. We have systems like that, designed for governments to catch just this kind of issue; sometimes they even work.

      But a photo ID would not have been a functional solution in this case.

    • gaf says:


      registering falsely is too easy.

      The system is set up to prevent fraudulent votes. If she did not provide acceptable ID when registering, she would have to provide such when voting. If by mail as in this case, a copy of acceptable ID would have to be included with the returned ballot. It is a system that works. If a person submitted two different ballots with different names, that is obviously deliberate voter fraud subject to prosecution. It is extremely rare, because the potential gain is not worth the meager gain of a single vote. Again, the system works.

  2. JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

    Asked about the story this past November, Navarro-Ratzlaff seemed hazy on the details. She was prepping for a fundraiser that night, but told the Independent that she didn’t ever register twice or under different names. She said she had to re-register when she moved to Pueblo and she did, using her drivers license. She said her drivers license bears her married name and that she has been married for ten years, so what other name would she use? She said she still doesn’t know why she received two ballots, one under her maiden name and one under her married name.

    Gosh, where indeed, Rep. Navarro-Ratzlaff?

    They can't even keep their bullshit straight…

    • Cogito says:

      That link only lists her as Rep. Navarro, but this one has the hyphenated name.

      • notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

        She can't have been in office for ten years, so obviously she uses both forms of her name. My bet is that she re-registered under the new name and neglected to fill out the portion of the form that asks about other names (or addresses one might be registered under. Oversight or playing both ends against the middle?

        • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

          She clearly knew what she was doing, when she registered twice under different names, within two weeks. She's a legislator, for cripe's sakes.  She has no excuses for not knowing voter registration law.

          This was obviously a Jon Caldara-type stunt to gin up opposition for HB1303, Colorado's new voting law. She obviously intends to fundraise from her outrage over the "duplicate ballots", which, as BC pointed out, she would never have been able to vote. There are mechanisms in place to catch forged signatures, double votes, etc. Had she in fact voted the second ballot, she would have committed voter fraud with a clear paper trail of proof of intent.

  3. ModeratusModeratus says:

    Rep. Navarro is a better person than anyone who writes for this blog. You'd better be right, or you've slandered a good woman.

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