Surveillance Footage Debunks MAGA Clerk’s Voter Fraud Claims

·4 min read
Hyoung Chang/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images
Hyoung Chang/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

A conspiracy-peddling county clerk claimed sinister election malfeasance in her home district. But surveillance footage reveals it was her own staff bumbling with computers.

Tina Peters, clerk of Mesa County, Colorado is currently facing 10 charges related to allegations that she and a colleague stole a local man’s identity and used it to break into voting equipment in the clerk’s office. Peters allegedly leaked voting data to conspiracy theorists, catapulting her to stardom in the Stop The Steal movement. Peters says the data reveals election tampering in the 2020 presidential election—claims that elections experts have repeatedly dismissed. In a Thursday hearing, Mesa County’s district attorney dismantled Peters’ core claims, with help from surveillance footage from inside her own office.

The Thursday hearing came in response to a March report, prepared on behalf of Peters’ legal team. The report claims that several actions on Mesa County election machines could only have been performed by nefarious outside actors manipulating the county’s voting machines from afar.

That’s not true, District Attorney Dan Rubinstein showed during the hearing.

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The report took issue with an election database logging 10 batches of ballots within 47 seconds (“physically impossible,” the document reads). The document claims that “Mesa County election clerks were unaware of these batch timestamps, or any issue that could explain them.” The supposed issue “demonstrates this manipulation of ballots,” by outside forces, the report alleges.

But surveillance footage, revealed during the hearing, shows Mesa County staffers easily logging those same batches of ballots within 47 seconds. None appear to blink at what the report described as a physically impossible stunt of data-entry.

And rather than a shadowy cabal of hackers manipulating the data from outside the clerk’s office, the surveillance footage shows one of Peters’ close associates uploading the ballots in question. The colleague, Sandra Brown, was later fired from the clerk's office for allegedly helping Peters breach voting machines. (Brown denies those allegations.)

Other claims in Peters’ latest election report were similarly debunked by surveillance footage. At one point, elections officials experienced a computer error and attempted to restart their software. The report claims that election staffers called a helpline for Dominion Voting Systems, the company that manufactured the voting machines, and that the error was mysteriously resolved after the call. (Some conspiracy theorists falsely accuse Dominion staffers of a plot to tamper with votes.)

“According to several Mesa County election officials, DVS support was contacted at approximately 4PM on the 21st of October, and while the support representative claimed to not have a solution for the issue Mesa County was seeing, that issue ceased soon afterwards,” the report reads.

In actuality, surveillance footage and phone logs show, election staffers made no effort to contact Dominion. Instead, Brown performed a hard restart of the election equipment and resumed working.

The report’s authors claimed to have spoken at length to Mesa County elections staffers, who had “a strong recollection” of the ballot-counting. “Extensive questioning of Mesa County election clerks has ruled out human error,” the report concludes.

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Actual Mesa County elections staff claim differently. Rubinstein’s staff questioned the 11 election workers in the room at the time of the alleged issues, he said at the hearing. All of them said the report’s authors had not even contacted them, let alone performed “extensive questioning.”

Rubinstein said Brown and the report’s authors were similarly AWOL when the District Attorney’s office reached out. One of the report’s two authors, a data analyst who goes by the moniker “MAGA Raccoon,” confirmed on his website that the DA’s office had contacted him, but said he referred investigators to Peters’ legal team.

Peters’ office has been accused of bungling previous elections, although never enough to affect their outcome. In 2019, Peters’ office left a box of more than 570 uncounted ballots outdoors for months. During the 2020 primaries, Peters’ office installed a dropbox that spilled ballots into a parking lot. When questioned about the box, Peters suggested the incident had been staged by a local couple, who denied the allegation.

Ultimately, Rubinstein said, the issues flagged in the report had no bearing on the election results—and that those hiccups were the result of human error within the clerk’s office.

“Sandra Brown did it and we find no evidence that it affected the election at all,” he said.

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