Today, Colorado Ethics Watch called on Sixth Judicial District Attorney Todd Risberg to take action in response to an email from a Pagosa Springs employer threatening job losses or pay and benefit cuts if President Obama is re-elected.
An email published in the Durango Herald as a message from Visiting Angels of Southwestern Colorado to its employees said that the company had received legal advice that it would need to cut employees, reduce hours or pay or eliminate benefits unless the Affordable Care Act is repealed, which the email advised could only happen if Mitt Romney is elected President. The email concluded by urging employees to think of their own paychecks and vote.
Under Colorado law, it is illegal voter intimidation for an employer to “put up or otherwise exhibit” in any workplace establishment or “place where his employees may be working or present in the course of such employment” any "handbill, notice or placard containing any threat, notice or information that, if any particular ticket or candidate is elected, work in his place or establishment will cease in whole or in part, or his establishment will be closed, or the wages of his workmen will be reduced or containing other threats, express or implied, intended or calculated to influence the political opinions or actions of his employees." Penalties include up to one year of jail time, a fine and revocation of a corporation's right to conduct business in Colorado.
"Voter intimidation is a serious threat to the fundamental right to vote," said Luis Toro, director of Ethics Watch. "Threats by employers that jobs or hours will be cut if a certain candidate wins have been illegal in Colorado for many years, because Election Day is supposed to be the one day where all Americans are truly equal with the same voice. But election laws don't enforce themselves, and that's why we're calling on the District Attorney to take appropriate action against those responsible for this email."