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Questions raised about how El Paso County Sheriff nominee got on primary ballot

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO)-- Less than 24 hours after he was declared the victor in the Republican Party primary election, there are now questions about how El Paso County Sheriff nominee, Joe Roybal, collected his signatures to get on the ballot.

For major party candidates, there are two ways to get on the ballot in Colorado: either by getting more than 30 percent of the votes at the state primary assembly or by collecting enough signatures. Roybal, who is the current undersheriff for El Paso County, went the signature route.

But now, a video taken in February shows the way he may have got some of the signatures could be against the rules.

In a video, posted by Dragonman's Gun Range on Facebook in February, Roybal is seen with the owner of the shop, as the gun store owner offers a $5 discount at his gun range if people sign Roybal's petition.

"To help him, if you guys come out here today and use my shooting range, and sign Joe's petition, we're gonna knock off $5 dollars off the shooting range price," the owner Mel Bernstein says.

Roybal has endorsements from current El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder, who shared the Facebook post on his personal page. Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers and 4th Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen also endorsed Roybal.

According to Colorado election laws, petitioners can not pay for signatures or offer anything of value to get them.

Statute 1-4-905 reads that petition gatherers must believe "that no other person has paid or will pay, directly or indirectly, any money or other thing of value to any signer for the purpose of inducing or causing the signer to sign the petition."

Additionally, statute 1-13-401 says, "Any person who offers or, with knowledge of the same, permits any person to offer for his or her benefit any bribe or promise of gain to an elector to induce him or her to sign any petition or other election paper or any person who accepts any bribe or promise of gain of any kind in the nature of a bribe as consideration for signing the same, whether such bribe or promise of gain in the nature of a bribe is offered or accepted before or after signing upon conviction shall be punished as provided in section 1-13-111."

KRDO reached out to the Secretary of State Jena Griswold's office Wednesday for clarification on if this video shows a violation of election rules.

A spokesperson for Griswold wouldn't speak on this specific case but did say that offering a discount would be applicable to Statute 1-4-905.

KRDO attempted to reach Roybal by both his Sheriff's office phone line and his listed campaign phone number but has not heard back.

So what happens next?

El Paso County Clerk Chuck Boerman says the deadline has long passed to challenge petitions. Griswold's office believes it would be up to Allen, the district attorney to file charges of 'bribery' to induce an elector to sign a petition.

Griswold's office did say that if anyone thinks there's been a violation, to file a complaint with them. The spokesperson did not disclose if anyone has filed a complaint yet.

KRDO also reached out to the 4th Judicial District Attorney's office for comment after regular business hours.

Thursday morning, the District Attorney's office provided us with the following statement:

We are aware of the video. As we conduct a preliminary review, decisions will be made as appropriate.

Office of the District Attorney
Fourth Judicial District of Colorado
Article Topic Follows: News
Bill elder
Colorado Springs
El Paso County
el paso county sheriff
Election integrity
Election Issues
joe roybal
local news

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Spencer Soicher

Spencer is the weekend evening anchor, and a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about him here.


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