Video, documents available upon request

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015
CONTACT: Amy Runyon-Harms, Executive Director at 303-870-0448

PUEBLO: ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, today called on Pueblo Republican Party Chair Becky Mizel to publicly apologize and explain her apparent theft of a confidential election document. ProgressNow Colorado obtained video and documents in an Open Records Act request regarding elections procedures and meetings in Pueblo County.

According to video [1] and documents obtained from the Pueblo District Attorney and Clerk & Recorders offices, available from ProgressNow Colorado upon request, Mizel only narrowly avoided criminal charges related to the disappearance of a document from an election certification meeting on November 18, 2014. The document contained confidential information from ballots cast in person on voting machines.

“The kind of shenanigans we’re learning about in Pueblo are shameful and unacceptable,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms. “As an elected official representing the Republican Party, Mizel should be held to a higher standard. At the very least, Mizel is guilty of juvenile nonsense unworthy of any legitimate stakeholder in our elections. At worst? The Pueblo GOP is not above cheating to achieve their goals.”

Records obtained by ProgressNow Colorado reveal that the document in question was discovered missing on November 18, during a meeting of the Pueblo canvass board. Pueblo GOP chair Mizel is not a member of the canvass board and was attending as an election “watcher.” Despite a request by Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder Gilbert Oritz that the document be returned, Mizel did not return the document until the next day–after it was revealed that a camera had captured Mizel taking it.

Pueblo District Attorney Jeff Chostner investigated the incident, and notified Mizel that she had been observed taking the document and returning it the next day. Chostner warned Mizel in a letter obtained by ProgressNow Colorado that her behavior risks criminal charges. [2]

“Mizel’s misbehavior is part of a larger trend in Colorado, where extremists who don’t like the election results or the voting process attempt to break the system: refusing to certify the vote, frivolous lawsuits, and now even stealing official documents to stall the vote of the people,” said Runyon-Harms. “It’s shameful and needs to stop.”