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Monday, January 24, 2022

Mesa County Clerk Who Adopted Conspiracy Theories Was Given 3 Days To Accept Election Security Inspection

Colorado Secretary of State Jenna Griswold wants Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters to sign documents saying she will follow election security protocols set by Peters to resume her duties as the county’s designated election official. She puts limits on what she can do before.

Griswold, a Democrat, issued the election order and “certification and verification of compliance” on Monday, giving the Republican clerk three days to agree to the terms, as first reported by the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.

The document states that if Peters fails or refuses any part of the order, the Office of the Secretary of State seeks a court order to remove Peters as the designated election officer and appoint a replacement. can do.

Mesa County is expected to complete all of its tasks related to the 2021 election by the end of the month, including publishing results from hand counts and posting ballot images online, which means Peters can resume his election duties. Will be able to resume and have further legal action. took.

In October, a Mesa County judge barred Peters and deputy clerk Belinda Nisli from overseeing the 2021 election in response to a lawsuit that was filed in August by the Secretary of State’s office. It was alleged that Peters, with the help of Nisley and one of the county’s election managers, Sandra Brown, allowed an unauthorized person access to a secure area at the county elections office on May 25 during an update to the Dominion Voting Systems software. , and that QAnon Conspiracy Theory leader published passwords from online voting systems in August.

Peters has been placed as a key figure among election conspiracy theorists who claim the 2020 election was stolen. Another workplace investigation is facing criminal charges related to allegedly entering county offices after being placed on administrative leave. He has pleaded not guilty.

“Clerk Peters’ actions constituted one of the country’s first internal threats, where an official who had been chosen to uphold free, fair and secure elections scuttled the election system in an attempt to prove unfounded conspiracy theories. risked the integrity of the company,” said Annie Orloff, spokeswoman for Griswold’s office, in an email.

The order would require Peters or a deputy clerk to obtain approval for election-related decisions from the Office of the Secretary of State and allow the office access to video surveillance of voting equipment at all times. This prevents Peters from being in possession of voting equipment without supervision, from using the state’s voter registration system to completing training, and from giving access to voting equipment rooms without written approval, among other restrictions. Additionally, Peters will be required to submit daily electronic logs for key swipes to the Department of Elections for the Secretary of State’s office as well as weekly progress reports on election matters.

And it would require Peters to “reject, withdraw, and deny” statements related to his “willingness to compromise Mesa County’s voting system equipment,” including the January 6 Facebook Live broadcast.

The Mesa County Board of County Commissioners is also asking Peters to sign a separate attestation about adhering to election protocol, ensuring election workers’ employment security, and adhering to the county’s contract with the Dominion Voting System.

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Mesa County Commissioner Cody Davis said he would be shocked if Peters signed off on the secretary of state’s verification.

Although Davis said he is concerned about comments online last week about Peters getting rid of the voting equipment, Davis said it could cost a quarter million dollars to replace the equipment again. He is also concerned about losing staff so close to the election.

Peters did not respond to a request for comment, but on Monday a release from his Legal Defense Fund claimed that the county was “illegally” preventing Peters from reappointing Brown, who is now in the county until November 9. were not employed in Post. The secretary’s order prevents Brown and Nisley from joining the election department.

In the Legal Defense Fund statement, Peters blamed “the organized Left and Lincoln Project Republicans” for trying to quash him and intimidate those who supported him.

“I will not rest until justice is served to people like me who are in favor of transparent and fair elections,” the statement said.

The clerk is still the subject of complaints to the Colorado Office of Administrative Courts over allegations of soliciting funds for a re-election campaign without filing an active campaign committee and accepting gifts in excess of the permissible limit, including Mike’s in violation of campaign finance law. Charged. Lindell, founder and CEO of MyPillow and election conspiracy theorist.

Another ethics complaint related to similar allegations is pending review by the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission. And the original lawsuit filed by the Secretary of State’s office awaits further action after Peters’ attorneys filed counterclaims against Griswold over Peters’ removal as designated election officer, alleging that election records were deleted during routine maintenance. were being given.

State and federal criminal investigations are also underway at Peters and Clerk’s office related to a potential security breach.

A lawsuit filed by county commissioners in December against Peters for failing to certify a document signed by the board for an election service contract extension was later withdrawn after certifying them.

“The best case scenario, where we are with Clerk Peters, would be for him to resign and we should hire a new clerk and recorder who doesn’t have legal trouble with the ethics commission with a possible charge coming from the DA, Fed. from,” Davis said. “He has an incredible amount of stuff right now and it’s not a good idea for the community to have him there as a clerk and recorder.”

Davis said he did not expect his resignation or signature on the documents, so he expects another attempt to stop him from overseeing the next election until the investigation is complete.

But the commissioner said the board’s focus is not on whether or not Peters is guilty, but on whether Mesa voters can count on their polls. The board is reviewing options, and if a significant amount of the community still doesn’t trust the results of the 2020 election, Davis said the commissioner may want to go back to that presidential election and implement some procedures. Which they took in 2021 such as hand counting and ballot imaging to prove votes were not changed.

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