Pueblo Man accused of election rigging to undergo competency evaluation | Rare Techy


A judge on Wednesday ordered a mental competency exam for a Pueblo man affiliated with a private investigative firm accused of rigging a voting station in the June primary election.

Pueblo District Court Judge William Alexander ordered during a brief hearing Wednesday that Richard Patton, 31, who is free on bond, report for an outpatient mental competency evaluation. The judge also ordered that the assessment be completed within about 42 days.

A competency evaluation considers whether a criminal defendant is mentally ill or has a developmental disability, and whether that mental illness interferes with the defendant’s ability to understand the court process. Competency refers only to a defendant’s current mental capacity, as opposed to an insanity defense that focuses on the defendant’s state of mind at the time of the alleged offense.

Patton, a registered Democrat, has been charged with election fraud. He appeared in court on Wednesday but did not speak.

Authorities allege Patton removed a USB port from the bottom of a voting machine in Pueblo on June 28 and tampered with a security seal, according to the affidavit filed against him.

Arriving at the voting site at 720 N. Main St., Patton at first seemed like any other voter, the affidavit said. But he raised some alarm when he asked workers if there was any security in the area before going to the voting machines to vote on the affidavit.

He showed up to vote after a poll worker showed him how to operate the machine, then left. Another pole worker approached the machine to clean it — a COVID protocol between each use — and the worker found the screen flashing an error message.

The message read, “USB device detected. Call a pole worker for assistance,” the affidavit said. Further investigation revealed that an official election seal had been changed on the bottom of the machine and a USB port had been pulled from the bottom of the machine, according to the affidavit.

Patton was arrested last week and released on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond. According to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, he is the registered agent of Botan Investigations and Process Service LLC. The company was formed in 2019.

A LinkedIn account that appears to be Patton’s says he works as a “Special Cannabis Private Investigator.”

Private investigators are not licensed by the state in Colorado. Private investigators were required to obtain a license between 2014 and 2021, but Gov. Jared Polis ended the program, citing overregulation of the industry. Many previously licensed private investigators are still listed in the state’s licensing system; Patton is not among them.


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