MESA COUNTY, Colo. — A Mesa County Election Coordinator came across an eye-catching issue recently when entering data for a voter. The voter at hand is dead– it’s a unique case of voter fraud and identity theft.
While completing Data Entry from the Colorado Department of Revenue, an Election Coordinator came across a change for a Voter. While updating that record of Dale Robert Ross, the coordinator received an alert from the automatic crosscheck system with the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, matching a deceased individual. In her research, she found the voter record was canceled on 03/06/2018 as deceased, and then was reinstated 05/08/2018 as an active voter.
“I heard my data entry person say, “how can this guy vote, he’s dead”… there was a match with someone who is deceased.” – Tina Peters, Mesa County Clerk
Larry Talbert, 54, is the man accused of identity theft, attempting to influence a public servant and money laundering.
Safeguards are built into the state election system to catch things like this that don’t quite add up. “What we do is we crosscheck information in our system to make sure all the information is correct… and if there is an abnormality we research it,” says Tina. If it warrants sending to law enforcement, in this case, the district attorney, the clerk does that.
The election office usually gets about 200 voters that are flagged every voting cycle but most are investigated and resolved by the elections department– only a few are left for the district attorney to investigate. The district attorney on this particular case says it’s a unique case for Mesa County.
“I can’t really discuss the facts of the case but it’s certainly unusual that a long term identity theft came to light as a result of the signatures not matching.” Daniel Rubenstein, Mesa County District Attorney
Usually, Mesa County sees voter fraud cases where members of a household vote for one another without consent. District Attorney Dan Rubenstein says there is usually a similar motive in voter theft cases like these.
“Two motives we have seen historically are voting against what someone would have wanted to do out of anger and spite, or people who don’t think its that big of a deal. We had a mother vote for her son one time because she said I knew he wouldn’t vote.” – Daniel Rubenstein, Mesa County District Attorney