Colorado officials formally act to remove Mesa County GOP clerk as designated election official

Secretary of State Jena Griswold sued seeking to replace Tina Peters as the designated election official.

Mesa County commissioners and the Colorado secretary of state are continuing their efforts to remove Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters from her post as the county’s designated election official (DEO), according to new filings.

During an administrative hearing held on Tuesday, Mesa County commissioners introduced a resolution to remove Peters from her DEO post and replace her with county staff that are empowered to perform the same duties.

Secretary of State Jena Griswold also filed a new lawsuit seeking to remove Peters as the DEO and replace her with Brandi Bantz, the current Mesa County director of elections.

“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. “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. I will continue to provide the support and oversight needed to ensure the integrity of Colorado’s elections.”

The filings are the latest in a months-long series of efforts to remove Peters from her post since August 2020.

Griswold began investigating Peters' office for official misconduct in August after images were posted online that purported to show passwords to Mesa County voting machines. The secretary of state swiftly ordered Mesa County to replace all of the machines, which cost county taxpayers more than $90,000 in all, before beginning the legal fight to remove Peters.

Colorado law does not allow neither a sitting secretary of state nor county officials to remove a DEO unilaterally.

Last October, a court agreed that Peters’ alleged actions concerning the incident created a “security vulnerability” and that Peters was “untruthful with the Secretary of State and her staff” during their investigation.

That decision legally barred Peters from executing her DEO responsibilities until the completion of all 2021 election activities, which are expected to end in February.

Currently, former Secretary of State Wayne Williams is serving as Mesa County’s DEO.