Judge bans rogue county clerk from election duties

Tina Peters

A judge has ruled that “Tina Peters, along with her deputies Belinda Knisley and Julie Fisher, will not be allowed to oversee 2022 elections” in Mesa County, Colorado, CNN reported on Tuesday, May 10, 2022 (story here).

Peters, the Mesa County clerk, is a vocal Trump supporter and outspoken promoter of false election conspiracy theories. She was indicted for official misconduct and other crimes (details here), held in contempt of court for defying a judge’s orders, and arrested for assaulting a police officer.

Knisely and Fisher also are facing criminal charges in connection with the trio’s efforts to “prove” non-existent voting fraud in the 2020 election. The county’s election equipment no longer can be used because they compromised it.

In Colorado, elected county clerks are normally the county-level “designated election official.” But Peters’ lawlessness prompted Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat, to seek her removal from that responsibility. The judge’s order does not remove her from office, but an earlier order by a different judge completely bars her from the county clerk’s office (see story here).

This isn’t about overruling the voters who elected her, although it may have that effect. Public officials, whether elected or not, have to comply with laws governing how they are to carry out their duties. That’s not subject to popular vote.

This is about upholding the rule of law, and protecting the rights of all citizens, not just those who support her and approve of her actions (and yes, some people do, see story here).

Peters is campaigning to oppose Griswold in the fall elections. This ruling won’t keep her off the ballot. But a felony conviction might.

Related story: Colorado election officials are beefing up security, and some wear bulletproof vests, because of threats inspired by Peters’ rhetoric. Read that story here.

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