- Associated Press - Monday, May 16, 2016

DENVER (AP) - Colorado U.S. Senate candidate Jon Keyser’s name will appear on the GOP primary ballot, a state official said Monday, days after a handful of forged signatures were found on petitions aimed at qualifying him for the election.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams said there was no indication that any GOP Senate campaign - including Keyser’s - was aware of any irregularities in the handling of petitions by subcontractors for the campaigns.

Meanwhile, a Denver prosecutor was reviewing a complaint to determine if there was a crime committed, and if so, what further action should be taken.

KMGH-TV reported last week that it had uncovered 10 forged voter signatures among petitions supporting Keyser. Asked then about the disputed signatures, Keyser repeatedly declared, “I’m on the ballot.”

In an interview with The Denver Post on Monday, he blamed the forged signatures on an employee hired by a canvassing firm tied to his campaign.

“It appears, in fact, that some of those signatures were turned in in an improper manner and that’s a very, very serious thing,” Keyser said. “It’s an extremely serious allegation. I think that speaks to why I was very measured and very disciplined in talking about this.”

The winner of the June 28 primary will take on incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in November.

Williams initially ruled that Keyser’s campaign didn’t get enough signatures to qualify for the primary. A judge overturned that decision after a challenge by Keyser.

Keyser and candidates Jack Graham, Robert Blaha and Ryan Frazier chose to petition their way onto the primary ballot by collecting at least 1,500 voter signatures from each of Colorado’s seven congressional districts. Daryl Glenn was voted to the primary at the Colorado GOP’s state convention in March.

Williams’ office ensures, among other things, that the signatures come from registered voters; that no one has signed for two candidates in the same race; and that signature gatherers are registered voters, list a current address and declare under oath they have complied with all statutes.

“That oath is what allows us then to count those signatures,” Williams said.

Blaha obtained a court order reversing a Williams finding that he collected too few signatures. Frazier’s name is provisionally on the ballot while he appeals his disqualification for too few signatures to the Colorado Supreme Court.

Williams said the campaign has raised questions and future discussion about possible training for circulators; the timing of June party primaries; and schedules involving the sending of overseas ballots and handling of petition signatures.

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