August 15, 2022

UH OH: Colorado election clerk Tina Peters says Lauren Boebert “encouraged” her to download election data

UH OH: Colorado election clerk Tina Peters says she was "encouraged" to download election data by Lauren Boebert

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Tina Peters, the Colorado elections clerk indicted on 10 criminal counts for breaching the electronic voting machines in her charge, claims that Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), “encouraged me to go forward with the imaging” of the voting machines. In May of 2021, in a failed attempt to prove the 2020 election was stolen, Mesa Country clerk Tina Peters breached voting machines by copying software data and allowing an unauthorized person into a secure facility that housed them. She was charged, along with her deputy clerk Belinda Knisley, with several counts including violation of duty, criminal impersonation, conspiracy, and attempting to influence a public servant, and indicted in March of 2022.

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While Boebert denies the claims that she encouraged Peters, the conspiracy-theory-pushing Colorado Secretary of State candidate does have a documented history with the representative’s campaign manager, Sherronna Bishop. Bishop and Boebert crossed paths during a failed recall attempt of the Nov 2019 election in Colorado. A drop-box containing over 500 uncounted ball0ts was discovered in March 2020, setting off claims of election fraud.

Bishop made several Facebook live videos claiming the 2020 election was stolen, pushing the big lie and discussing – on-air – plans to find “sympathetic” county clerks in her efforts to see the election results overturned. Bishop endorsed Peters in her 2018 bid for county clerk. Coincidence? Perhaps not.

Bishop made several unhinged videos in 2021, alleging they weren’t “allowed” to touch voting machines and accusing Dominion, the maker of the electronic voting machine, and the Colorado Secretary of State of trying to erase data. Her 90-minute Zoom video can be seen here.

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Both Sherronna Bishop and Tina Peters appeared at quack MyPillow salesman Mike Lindell’s Cyber Symposium.

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Peters is being investigated by Colorado’s Independent Ethics Commission for alleged campaign finance violations surrounding her trip to the symposium, including her travel to the Cyber Symposium by private plane. Lindell has funneled at least $200,000 to Peters’ defense fund, according to The New York Times.

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A password leak initially led Secretary of State Jena Griswold to investigate Peters. Confidential information, including passwords from the Dominion Voting Systems machines, was posted on a far-right website. Griswold’s investigation also revealed that deputy-clerk Knisley requested security cameras be turned off. In addition, according to the Colorado Sun:

  • On May 23, Peters used her access badge to enter a secure area in the elections office. Security credentials for a man named Gerald Wood were also used to enter the area. In a September 2021 court filing, Peters said she authorized a consultant to make a copy of the vote-counting equipment hard drive
  • On May 25, employees of Dominion Voting Systems, the company that makes election equipment for nearly every Colorado county, and an employee of the secretary of state’s office conducted a “trusted build” software update on Mesa County’s voting machines
  • Despite rules that only allow people working for the secretary of state, Dominion and the county elections office to be present, emails show that Wood was listed on the attendee list as an “administrative assistant.” An employee of the secretary of state’s office also testified that, before the trusted build update, Peters introduced a man she said was an employee of her office who would be in attendance and called him Gerald Wood.

Wood was an IT consultant contracted to do work on Dominion Voting machines by Peters. Though his badge information was used to enter the building, grand jury evidence backs up his claims that he wasn’t actually at the county clerk’s office on the days he’s accused of being there.

Peters provides another example of how a seemingly normal person has been radicalized by lies and misinformation. There are multiple incidences such as occurred in Colorado, where access to voting machines was given to unauthorized people in an attempt to “prove” election fraud. Just recently, Michigan was in the news for the same reason. Christopher Krebs, who ran the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency at the Department of Homeland Security says “Institutionally we’ve lost a bit of a North Star in terms of how elections are conducted.”

Unfortunately, as long as bad actors peddle misinformation and lies — and there are those in positions to affect the outcome of our elections who believe those lies – the threat that we have to worry about the most is coming from inside — not outside – the house.

Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick

Ty Ross

News journalist for Washington Press and Occupy Democrats.

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