Briefline

Tina Peters barred from overseeing 2022 Mesa County elections

By: - May 10, 2022 7:08 pm

Mike Lindell, left, stands alongside Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters as she addresses a crowd gathered on the steps of the Colorado Capitol for the “Election Truth Rally,” which was organized by individuals who question the results of the 2020 presidential election, in Denver, April 5, 2022. (Kevin Mohatt for Colorado Newsline)

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters will not be able to oversee her county’s primary or general elections this year, a judge determined Tuesday.

The judge removed Peters, a Republican, as the county’s designated election official and confirmed Brandi Bantz in that role for 2022.

“Based on the circumstances of this case … the Court determines that the Petitioners have met the burden of showing that Peters and (Deputy Clerk Belinda) Knisley have committed a neglect of duty and are unable to perform the duties of the Mesa County Designated Election Official,” Mesa County District Court Judge Valerie Robison wrote in her order.

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Robison also wrote that Julie Fisher, Peters’ so-called “second chief deputy” does not have a statutory priority to be named designated election official, as was argued during testimony.

Peters is at the center of political and legal controversy after she allegedly allowed a security breach into the county’s election equipment during a software update in May 2021. She is under a grand jury indictment related to that activity, which is a separate case from the lawsuit decided Tuesday. Peters has repeatedly spread the lie that the 2020 election was fraudulent in Colorado. Claims of election fraud have been debunked by expertscourts and election officials from both parties.

Peters was barred from overseeing the 2021 coordinated election through a similar lawsuit from the secretary of state’s office, which also brought the latest lawsuit. She is now legally barred from serving as the election official through the completion of all 2022 election related activities.

“The Court’s decision today bars Peters from further threatening the integrity of Mesa’s elections and ensures Mesa County residents have the secure and accessible elections they deserve,” Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat, said in a statement. “Brandi Bantz has worked in Colorado elections for over 20 years, including as a Director of Elections in Mesa, and I am confident Mesa voters will have great elections this year. As Secretary of State, I will continue to provide the support and oversight needed to ensure the integrity of Colorado’s elections.”

Peters is running to unseat Griswold as secretary of state and received large support from fellow Republicans at the party’s state assembly in April.

COMBINED ORDER RE_ VERIFIED PETITION FOR RELIEF UNDER C.R.S

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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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