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Registered Democrat in Colorado arrested for reportedly tampering with a voting machine with a USB thumb drive

Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office

A Colorado man was arrested on Thursday morning after he was accused of tampering with a voting machine. The 31-year-old man allegedly committed a voting crime when he inserted a USB thumb drive into a voting machine.

Richard Patton, of Pueblo, was arrested without incident on suspicion of committing a voter crime during the primary election in June.

"On the afternoon of June 28, poll workers heard noises coming from a voting booth. When a poll worker went to investigate and clean the machine, they saw an error message and notified a supervisor," CBS News reported. "Tamper-evident seals on the machine appeared to be disturbed, the secretary's office said. The machine was immediately taken out of service for investigation."

ABC News reported, "Election officials in Colorado use locks and tamper-evident seals on voting equipment, so it becomes apparent if someone has tried to access it. Trigger alerts make machines inoperable if someone tries to tamper with them."

Local authorities were informed of a "potential breach to a voting system" at a voting station in Pueblo, Colorado.

CBS News reported that Patton allegedly inserted a "USB thumb drive into a voting machine at a polling station during the primary election in June, authorities said."

Patton did vote on that day. Patton was identified because he presented his driver's license as identification to poll workers before he voted, according to Gilbert Ortiz, Pueblo County's clerk and recorder.

The Pueblo Police Department said in a statement, "Detectives from the Pueblo Police Department High-Tech Crime Unit were able to identify 31-year-old, Richard Patton as the suspect that attempted to tamper with the voting station."

The Pueblo Police Department noted, "We would like to assure the community that all voter safeguards put in place to protect the voter process were successful. No information has been found to be breached at this time."

The Pueblo Police Department said Patton was booked on charges of tampering with voting equipment, a felony, and cybercrime-unauthorized access, a misdemeanor. He was being held without bond at the Pueblo County Judicial Center.

Patton has been a registered Democratic voter since 2019 – when he switched his affiliation from the Green Party, according to the Pueblo County's clerk and recorder.

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