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Pueblo police arrest man for voter tampering in June 2022 Primary Elections

PUEBLO, Colo. (KRDO) -- The Pueblo Police Department (PPD) has announced the arrest of a man in connection to voter tampering.

According to the PPD, officers were informed in June 2022 of potential tampering with a voting system at a local voting station in Pueblo during the primary election. An investigation by the High-Tech Crime Unit eventually identified 31-year-old Richard Patton as a suspect.

On Nov. 3, officers executed an arrest warrant and took Patton into custody in the 1000 block of Ruppel Ave. in Pueblo. Patton was arrested under a warrant with a class 5 felony charge as well as a misdemeanor cybercrime charge.

Colorado legislators amended legislation last Spring that has made election tampering a class 5 felony. Under Colorado law, a class 5 felony can be punished by a one- to a two-year jail sentence and/or a fine between $1,000 and $100,000.

The Colorado Secretary of State was not available for an on-camera interview but did release a statement about the new upgraded legislation that she was in support of.

“The continued spread of election conspiracies and the Big Lie is fueling threats to American elections, including efforts to interfere with election equipment. That is why I led a first-in-the-nation law on insider election threats, which increased physical safeguards around voting equipment and made it a felony to tamper with voting equipment. It is vital that anyone who breaks the law in attempts of subverting the will of the people or undermining elections be held responsible.” – Secretary Griswold

The Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder, Gilbert Ortiz, said the June primary election was going really well.

"It was actually a slow time, slow part of the election. So. So there was nothing, you know, different about that day than any other day," said Ortiz.

But Ortiz said an election Judge noticed something was off with a polling machine after they went to go disinfect the machine.

"They went to go clean it right after this gentleman was there and they noticed that on the screen and said that it that it was shut down because it had been tampered with. We picked it up, looked underneath it, saw that the seals had been broken on the USB port underneath it, and immediately covered it with a box and called the Secretary of State's office," said Ortiz.

The PPD said they want to assure the community that all voter safeguards are put in place to protect the
voter process was successful and no information has been found to be breached at this time.

The PPD worked in conjunction on this case with the Secretary of State, the 10th
Judicial District Attorney’s Office, and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, which was involved
in the technical analysis of the voting machine.

No further information is available at this time.

This is still an active and ongoing investigation.

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Tyler Dumas

Tyler is a Digital Content Producer for KRDO

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Barbara Fox

Barbara is a reporter based out of Pueblo for KRDO NewsChannel 13. Learn more about her here.

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