Colorado Republican who attended Mike Lindell's 2020 conspiracy-theory conference stripped of authority to oversee elections

·2 min read
Mike Lindell speaking to reporters.
MyPillow chief executive Mike Lindell speaks to reporters outside federal court in Washington on June 24. AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta
  • Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters spent weeks in hiding after attending Mike Lindell's conference.

  • She is under investigation for allegedly allowing an outsider to access voting equipment.

  • Elections will now be overseen by former Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, a Republican.

A judge in Colorado on Wednesday issued an injunction that strips election authority from a local Republican official who allowed an unauthorized "consultant" to access voting machines - and then claimed to have found evidence of fraud at a conspiracy-theory conference hosted by the MyPillow founder Mike Lindell.

Tina Peters, an ardent supporter of former President Donald Trump, was elected to serve as Mesa County Clerk in 2018. The next year, her office said that it failed to count more than 500 ballots in a local election, leading Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat, to require Peters' office to undergo remedial training.

After the 2020 election, Peters joined the former president's campaign to discredit his loss, despite President Joe Biden winning Colorado by a 13.5% margin. At Lindell's conference this summer, Peters claimed to present evidence that showed equipment from Dominion Voting Systems could be hacked to flip votes, despite the fact that equipment was never connected to the internet.

But it's what happened before attending that conference that has led to Peters losing her authority to oversee elections in a case brought by Griswold's office. As detailed in the ruling from Mesa County District Judge Valerie J. Robison, Peters last March 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.

That aide now faces criminal charges.

Later, video of election staff and employees of Dominion Voting Systems performing a software update in Peters' office was leaked on social media, and with it the confidential passwords used to access voting machines. Mesa County's Republican-led Board of Commissioners elected, in August, to replace that equipment, which had been decertified after the unauthorized access.

In her ruling, 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." The decision comes after Peters spent weeks hiding in an undisclosed location provided by Lindell. She is now under state and federal investigation.

Mesa County's next election will be overseen by former Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, a Republican appointed by Griswold's office.

In a statement, Griswold praised Wednesday's decision, saying it would prevent Peters from "further threatening the integrity of Mesa's elections."

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