Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters and the latest “Big Lie” saga

The saga of Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters dove this week from an obvious case of gross incompetence into the realm of absolute absurdity. Peters is now in “hiding” from the FBI with Mike Lindell, the CEO of My Pillow, who told VICE News her life was in danger.

How on earth did we get to this point?

We started following Peters’ career – she took office in 2018 – when it was reported that 574 ballots from the fall 2019 election had been found months after the election in a dropbox just outside her office. Peters refused to petition a judge to count the ballots and had the gall to blame the mistake on elderly election volunteers.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel’s editorial board called for Peters to resign in February 2020.

When she refused, a group of Republicans, Democrats and independent voters began a process to ask voters to get Peters out of office, but the effort fell about 1,300 signatures short of the roughly 12,000 needed by the August 2020 deadline to initiate a recall election. During the process, however, it became clear that the Clerk and Recorder’s office was badly mismanaged. The county office had stopped helping local municipalities with their elections despite a long tradition of doing so, and the Daily Sentinel reported that month that 80% of the office’s staff had turned over, including high-level officials.

Peters, a Republican, held on to her office, and now it appears she may have abused her position in a bizarre attempt to prove the 2020 presidential election was stolen from former President Donald Trump.

Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat, said an investigation has shown that Peters, a man named Gerald Wood, and another clerk employee copied Election Division hard drives. Security cameras in the room were disabled, and images of passwords were later posted online.

Because of the security breach, Griswold had to decertify the voting software and hardware in Mesa County and new equipment will have to be brought in.

Peters then went to Mike Lindell’s symposium in South Dakota last week where she broadly claimed the election was conducted improperly but didn’t add any specifics. Lindell had promised he would bring proof that the election was stolen from Trump to the event, but instead, he made rambling speeches. Data — that may have come from Mesa County voting machines – was presented on a big screen at the conference, but it certainly didn’t prove election fraud.

The FBI is now assisting in the investigation to see if Peters broke any federal laws in her unfruitful quest to provide Lindell with proof of election fraud.

The good news is that Peters won’t be overseeing the next election because Griswold has the authority to strip that power from her. We hope the election is overseen by former Secretary of State Wayne Williams and former clerk Sheila Reiner, a duo that would bring confidence to voters in Mesa County, who rightfully are feeling a bit unsure about the office tasked with overseeing their ballots.

Here at the end of this entertaining saga, we’d like to just remind readers that all of this is occurring because the former president of the United States used the power of his office to convince ordinary people that an election software company stole the election from him. He convinced Americans, without presenting any evidence, that the greatest fraud in history had been perpetrated against him.

It is that lie that brought us this malfeasance and bizarre behavior.

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