Then-Mesa County Clerk and Colorado secretary of state candidate Tina Peters attends the Western Conservative Summit in Aurora on June 4, 2022. (Chase Woodruff/Colorado Newsline)
Over half of the $255,912.33 recount fee paid by Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters following her June defeat in the Republican primary for secretary of state will be refunded after final costs were tallied, state officials said Monday.
“Based on the final costs provided to the office, the amount of $137,283.28 was not used by the counties for the permissive recount of the Republican Primary race for Secretary of State and is being returned to the appropriate candidate,” Annie Orloff, a spokesperson for the Colorado secretary of state’s office, wrote in an email.
Peters, a far-right election denier who has been indicted by a Colorado grand jury for her alleged role in a 2021 breach of Mesa County’s secure voting systems, requested the recount in July, following her 14-point primary loss to GOP nominee Pam Anderson.
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Following an appearance on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast to promote baseless stolen-election claims, Peters’ campaign raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in individual contributions to cover the estimated cost of the recount.
A week later, officials announced the results of Colorado’s first statewide election recount in 20 years: trailing by more than 88,000 votes, Peters gained 13 net votes. Anderson also gained 13 net votes, leaving the margin of her victory unchanged.
The secretary of state’s office clarified Thursday that it “plays no role” in determining the estimated or final cost of a recount, and that the $255,912.33 figure was a total of estimates made individually by elections officials in Colorado’s 64 counties.
Lynda Zamora Wilson, another losing candidate who requested a recount alongside Peters, will also receive a partial refund. Wilson suffered a 30-point defeat to GOP state Sen. Paul Lundeen in the Senate District 9 primary, and submitted a $20,819.87 fee to complete a recount that resulted in no change to her vote tally. She will receive a refund of $15,058.95.
“The Secretary of State’s Office and all 64 counties conducted the recount lawfully and adhered to the governing Colorado laws and rules,” Orloff said. “The recounts confirmed once again that Colorado elections are safe, secure, and accurate.”
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