A rally organized by the Truth & Liberty Coalition in support of Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters took place on Dec. 1, 2021, in front of the old Mesa County courthouse in Grand Junction. (Sharon Sullivan for Colorado Newsline)
The Colorado secretary of state is demanding that the Mesa County clerk sign a document promising to protect the security of future elections she might oversee after a court barred her from election duties in November.
Clerk Tina Peters allegedly allowed an unauthorized person to attend a software update for Mesa County’s Dominion Voting Systems election equipment in May, after which confidential passwords and other sensitive information from the county’s voting system were posted online, creating a serious election security vulnerability. Secretary Jena Griswold in August sued to prohibit Peters from overseeing the Nov. 2 election, and a judge ruled against Peters.
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As the term of that prohibition is due to end with the completion of 2021 election-related activity sometime later this month, Griswold on Monday issued an election order that, while allowing Peters to resume her elective role as “designated election official” of Mesa County, would impose a wide range of extraordinary restrictions.
Under the order, Griswold would appoint an election supervisor who would oversee every decision and action taken by Peters in relation to the 2022 primary and general elections. Peters would have to submit in writing to the supervisor “any proposed election-related decision” and receive approval. She would be barred from even being in the physical presence of election equipment without the supervisor as a chaperone. And every day she would be required to submit to Griswold’s office a copy of every written election-related communication she’s had.
Griswold justified the order by pointing to the gravity of last year’s security breach.
“Clerk Peters’ actions constituted one of the nation’s first insider threats where an official who was elected to uphold free, fair, and secure elections risked the integrity of the election system in an effort to prove unfounded conspiracy theories,” wrote Griswold spokesperson Annie Orloff to Newsline on Monday.
Peters, a Republican, is an adherent of debunked claims that the November election was fraudulent. She has continued to repeat such claims as recently as Jan. 6.
Peters did not respond to a text message seeking comment.
Along with the new election order, Griswold issued a “certification and attestation of compliance” that Peters must sign. Peters’ signature would affirm that she agrees to abide by the order.
She has until Thursday to sign it.
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