UPDATE: The charges of voter tampering charges against Richard Patton have been dismissed as of Jan. 3, 2024.
PUEBLO, Colo. (KRDO) -- In newly released arrest documents, a Pueblo man allegedly unplugged wires from a voting machine during the primary election. He is now facing a felony voter tampering charge. 31-year-old Richard Patton was arrested last week. Patton is a registered Democrat.
According to an arrest affidavit obtained by 13 Investigates, Pueblo Police officers were contacted on June 28, by Drake Rambke, an election supervisor from the Colorado Secretary of State's office. Rambke told them a voting machine was giving election workers an "out of service" message.
The error on the screen read, "USB device detected. Please call a poll worker for assistance." The error was shown on the screen minutes after Patton had just used the machine to vote, court records say.
Arrest records say the voting machine had a "security seal torn off on the bottom and a USB port was pulled out." Officers on the scene reviewed video footage of Patton entering the election headquarters on Main st. in Pueblo.
Election workers say Patton asked them to cast a ballot in person. However, before receiving a ballot to cast, Patton allegedly asked them if there was any security that worked at the location. Patton cast his vote and then left. An election worker then found that exact machine with the error message on it.
Court records say it was not used between the time Patton used it to cast a ballot and it was cleaned in accordance with COVID protocols. The entire machine was placed in evidence at the Pueblo Police Department. It was then sent to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation for further examination.
On September 13, CBI sent the machine back to Pueblo PD. On the log entries for the voting machine, investigators noted a "USB device change detected during the voting session."
The voting session was timed during when Patton was using the machine, arrest records say. On November 3, Pueblo Police executed a search warrant at an apartment complex and placed Patton under arrest. One day later, Patton was released after receiving a $5,000 personal recognizance bond.
At a press conference he called on Monday Night, Patton told reporters that he is innocent, but doesn't know who is responsible for tampering with the machine.
"I will not accuse anyone of anything I don't see in front of me or I don't have the evidence," Patton continued. "So in the pursuit of justice, I kindly ask the media and whoever watches this video to find out the individual or individuals within the state of Colorado who is targeting myself, my family, and my support group."