Mesa County Court Judge removes Peters as Designated Election Official

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Published Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Mesa County Court Judge Tuesday removed Tina Peters as the Designated Election Official (DEO) for Mesa County, barring her from overseeing the 2022 Primary and General Elections. The Court granted the Secretary of State's request to appoint Brandi Bantz as the DEO.

"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," said Secretary Jena Griswold. "Brandi Bantz has worked in Colorado elections for over 20 years, including as a Director of Elections in Mesa, and I am confident Mesa voters will have great elections this year. As Secretary of State, I will continue to provide the support and oversight needed to ensure the integrity of Colorado's elections."

According to the Colorado Secretary of State's Office, Peters' actions compromised Mesa County's voting equipment and election security, constituting one of the nation's first insider threats where an election official risked the integrity of the election system to prove unfounded conspiracy theories. Peters subsequently refused to affirm that she would comply with Colorado election rules and laws as the Mesa County DEO.

The Court's decision legally bars Peters from serving as DEO through the completion of all 2022 election related activities. A DEO is the person responsible for running elections for a local government, like a municipality or a county. They make determinations regarding elections issues for their municipality or county. Neither the Secretary of State nor the county is authorized under Colorado law to remove a sitting county clerk from serving as a county's DEO, so this legal action was necessary. The Secretary of State's Office can require supervision of a county clerk's conduct.

Bantz, who will serve as DEO in Mesa County for 2022 has worked in Colorado elections for over 20 years, including serving as the Director of Elections in Mesa County since May of 2020 and serving under then Clerk Wayne Williams in El Paso County for four years as a Senior Elections Specialist.

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The Kiowa County Press is an independent newspaper published in Eads, Kiowa County, Colorado, and to the world at KiowaCountyPress.net.