Tina Peters gains 23 votes in recount

Unfortunately for her, her leading rival gained 24 votes, so she fell 1 vote farther behind.

Peters, the rogue county clerk indicted for election crimes, originally lost the GOP primary for Colorado secretary of state by 88,578 votes (details here). Now, she lost by 88,579 votes.

Unhappy with the original tally, she paid $255,912.33 for a recount. The money came mostly from out-of-state donors.

According to the Colorado secretary of state’s website (here), Pam Anderson, the winner, picked 24 more votes from the recount; Peters, who finished second, got 23 more; and Mike O’Donnell, who was third, got 32 more. For a quarter million bucks, she can brag she got 180,059 votes, not just a measly 180,036 votes.

Of the 79 votes added by the recount, 37 came from ballots found in a bin with unvoted ballots that had been returned as undeliverable, which “were opened and counted for the first time during the recount,” NBC News reported on Thursday, August 4, 2022 (see story here). The other 42 votes came from recounts in scattered counties.

Recounts typically come up with a few more votes than the initial count. This is because machines may not read voters’ marks, or ballots may have been misplaced or overlooked. They can even get stuck in voting machines or drop boxes.

But the numbers of such ballots are very small, and seasoned party officials know a statewide race involving hundreds of thousands of ballots isn’t within striking distance of being overturned by a recount unless the candidates are separated by only a few dozen votes. And in most states, when a race is that close, election laws provide for an automatic recount at state expense.

Recounts are expensive. The hand recount of the 2004 Washington governor’s race cost the Democrats about $750,000, but their candidate won by 129 votes (133 after the Republicans paid $2 million for a lawsuit that ended up throwing out 4 of their candidate’s votes). Tina Peters’ supporters paid $11,126.62 for reach of the 23 votes she picked up in the recount, but the winner got 24 more, so at the end of the day, they paid $255,912.33 for her to fall 1 vote further behind. This illustrates the risk of recounts; they might not go your way.

Her remaining recourse is to contest the election in court, which probably would cost a million dollars. But I don’t expect her, or her supporters, to do that. I think the recount served its purpose, which was to “prove” the original count was inaccurate. No election expert would be surprised by this; few, if any, elections are perfect; but they don’t have to be. The will of the voters was very clear in this one. But that won’t deter the Tina Peterses of the world.

They really spent the $255,912.33, probably knowing it would turn up a few more votes for all the candidates (which it did), to lay the groundwork for saying elections can’t be trusted. That’s what this recount, the “audit” in Arizona, and the scammy “election review” in Wisconsin, are all about. And instilling distrust of elections in the armed mob that constitutes the far-right wing of today’s Republican Party lays the groundwork for violently overthrowing elections.

Democracy needs to defend itself, and it can start by throwing this woman in jail if she’s convicted of the multiple felony charges against her. Judges, as defenders of the rule of law, should get tough with those who would take our freedom from us.

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