NewsCovering Colorado


No criminal charges will be filed against El Paso County Sheriff candidate

Undersheriff Joe Roybal won June's primary, a complaint filed claimed some of the signatures to get on the ballot were collected with bribes at a gun range.
El Paso County Undersheriff Joe Roybal is running for Sheriff
Posted at 10:51 AM, Jul 19, 2022

EL PASO COUNTY — El Paso County Undersheriff Joe Roybal will not be criminally charged after a complaint claimed he violated election law in collecting signatures to end up on the June Primary ballot.

The complaint claimed Roybal didn't prevent the owner of "Dragonman's Gun Range", Mel Bernstein, from offering discounts to customers in exchange for signing a petition to get Roybal on the ballot.

Bernstein, will also not face criminal charges.

The complaint states 43 signatures were collected at the gun range of the 1,500 signatures Roybal submitted. 1,000 signatures were needed for Roybal to make the ballot through the petition process.

In a statement sent to News5, Roybal said he wasn't familiar with the rules of campaigning for elected office.

"Now that I am aware, I assure the people of El Paso County my campaign will comply with this requirement in the future," Roybal said.

Pueblo District Attorney Jeff Chostner was appointed as the special prosecutor for the complaint because of a perceived conflict of interest with 4th Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen, who had endorsed Roybal.

In a warning letter sent to Roybal, Chostner added the complaint was filed beyond the five-day challenge period for the validity of a petition in Colorado.

State statute says the challenge happens five days after turning signatures in, not when the actions are discovered.

With the way the statute is written Chostner said in the letter he believes a jury would not convict him of violating the law.

In both warning letters, Chostner called the actions "reprehensible in a representative democracy" and that the actions "undermine faith in the electoral system."

Roybal will run against Democrat John Foley in November's midterm election.

To read the full warning letters from District Attorney Chostner, click here: Roybal warning letter
Bernstein warning letter


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Special Prosecutor to investigate complaints regarding El Paso County Undersheriff's petition to get on ballot


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