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Tina Peters is an election clerk from Mesa County, Colorado, accused of sharing election data.
The Colorado Secretary of State has sued Peters three times, attempting to remove her from her post.
Peters is under state and federal investigation. Here is how Peters has pushed the Big Lie in her county.
Tina Peters is a pro-Trump elections official in Mesa County, Colorado, accused of leaking sensitive voting machine data that was presented at a conspiracy conference hosted by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell in August 2021.
In the Republican Mesa County, Peters has been a vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump, and since 2020, she has echoed many of the lies about the integrity of the election that his camp has pushed.
Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold has accused Peters of taking her advocacy for Trump a step further in a slew of post-election lawsuits, accusing Peters and an aide of distributing and potentially altering data from the County's Dominion Voting Systems machines in March and May 2021.
And in early February of 2022, Peters was arrested for resisting a search warrant for her iPad — unrelated to her alleged election data breach. She is currently running to be Colorado's secretary of state. Here is a complete guide to Tina Peters' emergence into the national political spotlight.
June 26, 2018
Peters won a GOP primary contest against opponent Bobbie Gross with 54% of the vote, The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported, paving the way to a November victory in overwhelmingly Republican Mesa County.
February 20, 2020
When officials opened up a ballot drop box outside the Mesa County election office, they expected to find votes for the upcoming presidential primary. What they found were more than 500 ballots from the previous year's election that had never been counted, according to Colorado Public Radio.
"I apologize for this error and will always face challenges head-on with transparency and integrity in order to always keep your trust," Peters said in a statement at the time.
June 4, 2020
An effort to recall Peters from office formally began, with supporters given two months to gather just over 12,000 signatures.
"Tina Peters has repeatedly failed in her duties as Clerk & Recorder," stated the recall petition, per The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.
Critics cited the failure of Peters' office to count the 500-odd ballots from the 2019 election, noting they had been "left in a ballot box steps outside her offices for months." The petition also cited irregularities in the 2020 presidential primary election, including people "voting twice and other counting errors."
Organizers were ultimately unsuccessful, however, coming up roughly 1,200 signatures short of the minimum to proceed to a recall election, The Colorado Sun reported.
In early January, Peters tweeted several conspiracies about the 2020 election, according to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. Some have since been deleted.
In one tweet, Peters responded to Sen. Pat Toomey, who at the time chastised Republican colleagues who refused to certify the results of the 2020 election, floating a false conspiracy theory about election machines.
In March, District Judge Valerie J. Robison alleged that Peters allowed an unauthorized consultant to access the county's voting machines, with one of her aides requesting that election-department cameras be turned off for two weeks — long enough to allow that unauthorized third party to make a "forensic image" of the hard drive used by Dominion vote-tabulating equipment.
Judge Robison alleged that Peters repeated the conduct in May.
August 11-13, 2021
Tina Peters attended Mike Lindell's Cyber Symposium conference from August 10-12, 2021. At the conference, Peters reportedly shared election information with noted QAnon figures like Ron Watkins, Colorado's Secretary of State alleged in a lawsuit filed weeks after the conference.
According to Colorado Newsline, after Peters' attendance at the conference, two ethics complaints were filed against the official.
August 30, 2021
Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold sued Peters, accusing her of, "allowing an unauthorized individual to participate in the secure process for installing an update to the County's electronic voting system and to have access to the secure voting system, leading to the public disclosure of State-guarded passwords needed to access the equipment and compromising that equipment."
Peters was temporarily removed from her election-related duties. Former Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, a Republican, was appointed by Griswold's office to temporarily take Peters' place for the remainder of 2021.
Peters spent weeks hiding in an undisclosed location provided by Lindell in August after the accusations in the lawsuit came to light, Lindell claimed.
October 13, 2021
A judge in Colorado issued an injunction that stripped election authority from Peters, saying that she allowed an unauthorized "consultant" to access voting machines.
In her ruling, Judge Robison said Peters and her aide had "neglected their duties by failing to take adequate precautions to protect confidential information, and committed wrongful acts by being untruthful." Griswold's aide, Belinda Knisley, was also implicated and stripped of her role.
Griswold lauded the decision and said it "bars Peters from further threatening the integrity of Mesa's elections and ensures Mesa County residents have the secure and accessible election they deserve."
In October, a joint federal and state investigation was also launched into Peters' and her aide's alleged conduct.
November 5, 2021
The Colorado Secretary of State sued Peters again, according to the Denver Post, this time alleging that Peters had solicited 2022 campaign contributions via a legal defense fund on her website, without properly submitting an affidavit to the state or creating an active candidate committee. Peters also countersued Griswold, claiming that the Secretary of State "illegally removed her" from her post.
November 16, 2021
FBI agents raided four locations in Mesa County as part of its investigation into potential tampering with local voting machines. Among the locations searched were Peters' home and those of several of her friends, according to The Tina Peters Legal Defense Fund.
"On the morning of Nov. 16, the FBI conducted federally-authorized law enforcement actions into potential criminal activity by employees of the Mesa County Clerk and Recorder's Office and others associated with those employees. The activity occurred in both Mesa and Garfield Counties at four separate locations," a spokesperson for the Mesa County District Attorney told Insider.
No arrests were made.
January 12, 2022
In the new year, Griswold extended an offer to Peters: She could have her job back, if she agreed to certify elections using a new set of security protocols that gave her less authority, and if she walked back the statement that she wanted to have "those machines so that they are transparent to the people and they are not able to do what they're designed to do." Peters refused.
"Every eligible Coloradan – Republican, Democrat, and Independent alike – has the right to make their voice heard in safe and secure elections," Griswold said in a statement, according to the Denver Post. "As Clerk Peters is unwilling to commit to following election security protocols, I am taking action to ensure that Mesa County voters have the elections they deserve."
"Demanding someone recant their beliefs, especially beliefs for government transparency or else be punished is something we would expect to see in North Korea, China, or even medieval Europe — not the United States of America," Peters responded.
Griswold does not have the authority to remove Peters as an elected official for the 2022 elections, as in Colorado only a judge can make that move.
January 18, 2022
Griswold sued Peters again to remove her ahead of the upcoming election, asking a judge to appoint Mesa County Director of Elections Brandi Bantz in her place.
"Respondents Tina M. Peters, the Clerk and Recorder for Mesa County, and Belinda Knisley, the Deputy Clerk and Recorder for Mesa County, were removed by this Court from exercising their election-related duties in the 2021 coordinated election," the lawsuit said. "That court order will expire upon the completion of all election-related tasks related to the 2021 election, which is anticipated to occur in the next few weeks."
"Among other things, the Election Order required Peters to certify that she will comply with Colorado's laws as Mesa County's DEO in 2022, and to agree to the use of the Dominion Voting Systems equipment Mesa County has purchased and adopted for use in its elections. Peters refused to sign. This failure is itself an independent, freestanding violation of the Election Order," Griswold wrote in the third civil lawsuit.
February 9, 2022
Tina Peters was arrested at a bagel shop in Grand Junction on February 9, 2022.
According to a Grand Junction Police Department affidavit, when investigators with the Mesa County District Attorney's Office attempted to seize her iPad, Peters refused. It was then that Grand Junction police witnessed a "heated discussion," with the iPad investigators were seeking "being passed around between patrons" who were at the establishment with Peters, per the affidavit.
The arrest was not linked to a grand jury investigation into election tampering and official misconduct. The Mesa County Clerk and Recorder is accused of using the tablet computer to illegally record a court hearing for one of her former aides.
Peters, according to the affidavit, then stepped between a police officer and an unidentified person. At that point the officer took Peters "by her left bicep." Peters, in turn, began "actively resisting" — attempting to "kick back with her right leg to strike" one of the other officers, hitting the other officer's Taser.
Video of the incident also surfaced on social media.
"Do not kick! Do you understand!?" the officer stated, per the document, while another asked her to "please relax," to which Peters responded, "No!"
February 14, 2022
Tina Peters announced a run for Colorado Secretary of State on Steve Bannon's War Room show, running against Democratic Secretary Jena Griswold–who is seeking re-election in 2022 as her cases against Peters play out.
"Colorado deserves a secretary of state who will stand up to the Biden administration that wants to run our country into the ground with nationalized elections," Peters said in a statement.
Secretary of State Jena Griswold responded to the news saying that Peters is a "danger," to the state.
"Tina Peters is unfit to be Secretary of State and a danger to Colorado elections. Peters compromised voting equipment to try to prove conspiracies, costing Mesa County taxpayers nearly one million dollars," Griswold said in a statement sent to Insider. "She works with election deniers, spreads lies about elections, was removed from overseeing the 2021 Mesa County election, and is under criminal investigation by a grand jury. Colorado needs a Secretary of State who will uphold the will of the people; not one who embraces conspiracies and risks Coloradans' right to vote."
March 9, 2022
Tina Peters is indicted on 10 counts by a Mesa County grand jury related to her alleged role in the election data breach, according to the county's district attorney. Her aide, Belinda Knisley was indicted on six counts related to the breach.
Peters was indicted on counts of attempting to influence a public servant, criminal impersonation, conspiracy to commit criminal impersonation, identity theft, first-degree official misconduct, violation of duty, and failing to comply with the secretary of state.
"Using legal muscle to indict political opponents during an election isn't new strategy, but it's easier to execute when you have a district attorney who despises President Trump and any constitutional conservative like myself who continues to demand all election evidence be made available to the public," Peters said in response to the indictment.
Peters pleaded not guilty to the charges.
May 10, 2022
Peters, Knisley, and another aide, Julie Fisher, are barred from administering 2022 elections in Mesa County after a ruling by Colorado district Judge Valerie Robison, making it the second time in two years that Peters was stripped of that authority.
"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," Griswold said after the ruling, according to CNN.
On June 28, Peters will face a run-off in a Republican primary for the Colorado Secretary of State, which she has been campaigning for alongside Mike Lindell at times.
Peters faces Pam Anderson, a former county clerk who also represented Colorado's county clerks association, as well as Mike O'Donnell.
If Peters wins, it will set up a face-off against Griswold, the current Democrat Secretary of State who has successfully sued Peters twice to limit her powers as Mesa County Clerk.
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