Briefline

Colorado Supreme Court denies Tina Peters’ appeal of decision barring her from Mesa County election involvement

By: - October 21, 2021 1:40 pm

A photo of the Colorado Supreme Court building. (Google Maps)

The Colorado Supreme Court will not hear Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters’ appeal to a ruling last week that prevents her from overseeing the Nov. 2 coordinated election in her county. 

The court issued a one-sentence order on Wednesday that declined to accept jurisdiction in the case. That means Peters will not serve as Mesa County’s designated election official this election cycle.

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Peters’ appeal, filed Monday by her attorney, Scott Gessler, who is a former Republican Colorado secretary of state, argued that District Court Judge Valerie Robison did not have the authority to strip Peters of that responsibility.

“Colorado law unambiguously mandates that a county clerk and recorder fulfill the duties as the county DEO, and a court may not override this statutory mandate. Likewise, Colorado law does not give a court authority to declare that an elected official is unwilling or unable to carry out her duties, based on a past violation of election rules,” the appeal reads. 

It went on to state that Peters and Deputy Clerk Belinda Knisley are “willing and able” to perform their duties as related to the Nov. 2 election. Additionally, Gessler wrote that Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat, had already imposed “aggressive and robust” remedies to the alleged violations by decertifying the county’s election equipment and appointing an elections supervisor. 

Gessler wrote that allowing Robison’s decision to stand could “fundamentally alter election administration and application of Colorado’s election laws.”

The Supreme Court, however, will not hear the appeal.  

Peters has been under scrutiny since she allowed an unauthorized person to attend Mesa County’s “trusted build” software update for its Dominion Voting Systems election equipment in May. Photos of confidential passwords taken during that update were then posted online and distributed to voter-fraud conspiracy websites.

That conduct is under investigation by local, state and federal officials. 

Another former Colorado secretary of state, Wayne Williams, will serve as the designated elected official for the Nov. 2 elections in Mesa County. Peters is still the county clerk, but cannot interact with election workers. 

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Sara Wilson
Sara Wilson

Sara Wilson covers state government, Colorado's congressional delegation, energy and other stories for Newsline. She formerly was a reporter for The Pueblo Chieftain, where she covered politics and government in southern Colorado. Wilson earned a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University, and as a student she reported on Congress and other federal beats in Washington, D.C.

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