The irony is cruel for voters, in Colorado and across the nation, that leaders of a movement falsely claiming widespread election fraud are the very perpetrators of such treachery that a proposed state law would help guard against.
Without hesitation, state legislators should send Senate Bill 153 to the governor for signing to ensure voters across the state are protected from the kind of malfeasance and apparent criminal tampering uncovered in the Grand Junction area last year.
The need for this measure ran downstream from former president Donald Trump, who worked feverishly after the 2020 election to undermine it by perpetuating unfounded and spurious allegations of widespread voter fraud.
Perpetuating “The Big Lie” culminated in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots and failed insurrection. But even now, Trump and his misguided or malevolent allies seek to undermine voter access and true election integrity by continuing false and completely unproven allegations — and from attacking elections from within.
It’s astonishing that Colorado must now seek legislation to protect voters and election integrity from “insider threats” like those created by Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters.
Peters is the now infamous election-fraud collaborator of Trump and his conspiracy theory magnate and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.
Peters was indicted by a Colorado grand jury earlier this month for her role in allowing unauthorized election outsiders access to sensitive voting machines in May 2021. Accused of disabling security systems to allow the theft of photos of passwords and information, pictures of the voting machine components and security data from the Mesa County voting machines appeared on pro-Trump conspiracy theory websites and social media.
The FBI is also investigating Peters’ role in the voting machine scandal.
The damage Peters and her allies inside and outside of Colorado have done to Mesa County’s election integrity has now become widespread. These conspiracy theory cranks and felons have raised the specter of other local election officials being able to undermine what is often lauded as the most secure, voter-friendly and dependable election system in the nation.
County clerks and election officials from across the state, and from both parties, have lauded the need for the Colorado Election Security Act and the direct way it works to protect voters from people like Peters and her allies.
“It’s important to harden our election security posture against insider threats who seek to break the law and undermine public confidence in our elections,” Pueblo County Clerk Gilbert “Bo” Ortiz said in a statement.
The measure makes it a felony to tamper with voting equipment or release any voting system information to unauthorized people, and especially to publish it.
Rather than essentially leave video surveillance of election equipment and storage rooms arbitrary, the bill mandates such areas be accessible only by keycard and be monitored by security video systems at all times. Elected clerks would not have key card access to such equipment storage facilities and would have to be accompanied by an authorized election employee to be in such areas.
The measure would also standardize election worker and official training to ensure they are able to protect themselves, as well as election materials and equipment, from nefarious people trying to gain confidence, access or exert dubious influence on elections.
Sadly, election workers, and residents, could be likely prey for a current Colorado group trying to undermine voter security and confidence by acting as vigilantes.
A collection of civil and voting rights groups across the state launched a lawsuit last week against the so-called U.S. Election Integrity Plan for stalking and harassing voters in what the group claims is “door-to-door voter intimidation,” according to a story by Associated Press reporter Nicholas Riccardi. Leaders of the conspiracy theory based group have connections to Lindell and other Colorado county officials also accused of election security irregularities.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs, which include the NAACP, the League of Women Voters and Mi Familia Vota, say that members of the group target areas with large numbers of minorities and confront registered voters at their homes. Participants in the group sometimes openly carry firearms and some sort of “badges,” according to the lawsuit, giving the appearance that the “agent” confronting a voter is some kind of government official.
The group clearly acts to intimidate voters, effectively suppressing the vote in areas the group chooses to target.
While voter canvassing is common, for legitimate purposes, such as campaigning, groups like USEINP twist the process to work against free and fair elections.
While Senate Bill 153 would help keep groups like USEINP from working to undermine elections through election officials, it should also address this very real threat against the voting public. Sponsors of the bill should examine ways that would preserve the act of legitimate canvassing for voters but protect them from malevolent groups like USEINP.
The only shortcoming of the measure is that it applies only to Colorado. With the apparent demise of federal voting rights legislation, Colorado members of Congress should seek ways to bring a measure similar to this to the U.S. House and Senate in advance of other state’s falling victim to elected officials that have virtually promised or already have acted on Trump conspiracy theories.
Agree with the need to protect from internal threats. Why isn’t the Secretary of State’s Office not included in the Bill as well? A rogue SecState could be the greatest threat of all. Also, the Bill allows the SecState to be judge and jury in certain cases. That needs to be changed.
Tina Peters notwithstanding, Colorado has the best and most-secure election procedures in the country, and other states are seeking to emulate those, while in some states, they are working to undermine elections and make voting more difficult for the common person. The way we do it in Colorado should be the law of the land. Thank you, SOS Jena Griswold, for the excellent job you are doing.
If anything can be legislated to make our system even more secure, then that should be enacted.
State election officials (some are volunteers and none are overpaid), are having to spend thousands a month on security as crazies (we all know who they are) are stalking them, coming to their homes, following their kids to school, threatening and bullying online, at meetings and outside meetings, sometimes showing up with weapons, and planning to do the same when we the public are actually trying to vote. Pass the bill and offer more protection or no one but the crazies will run or apply for these offices. Thank you for this informative article.
Sounds like you don’t feel that the law is enough. Unless I’m mistaken, people that violate the law from these positions often get caught and face consequences under the current law. I would prefer that you wouldn’t go down the rabbit hole of “the big lie”, failed insurrection, election fraud collaborators with Trump and Lindell and instead let the grand jury and the law handle it. Everyone knows that a riot occurred at the Capital because Pelosi, Bauser, and a multitude of feds allowed the attack because an event was needed that would culminate in another impeachment because Vindman wasn’t there to do it with another phone call. I keep hearing about voter suppression but never who has been suppressed and kept from voting (hey it could be a story in the paper). Is there a list of suppressed voters? Let’s not forget about the far-left swinging Sentinel labeling everyone that may oppose their agenda as an ally of the other party. It feels like the Sentinel is trying to intimidate voters to undermine voter integrity by pushing the panic button. Did the voter rolls ever get cleaned up?
I was hoping that the drivel after ‘Everyone knows….’ was sarcasm, but I don’t think so. This is an actual statement of belief! Sometimes it’s as if I am living in a mirror world.
You’re right, I do believe the Sentinel is a far-left puppet of the Democrat party. Don’t you? Maybe we’re both right.
“Unless I’m mistaken…”
You’re quite “mistaken”. What “grand jury”? Grand juries have to be specially seated. They’re mostly unheard-of in the mountains. And they are the tools of the district attorney. Sometimes good tools, sometimes horrible, always unaccountable.
Meanwhile, in Mesa County, you have armed thugs threatening to go to voters’ homes to “verify” their registration status and question their voting habits. You have, in some jurisdictions, poll workers being threatened.
Voting rights are being curtailed and sometimes denied throughout the country by state legislatures who only want “the right” (perhaps that should be “the Right”) voters to cast ballots. Political activity is being swallowed by thuggery and dimwit “constitutionalists” who have never read the Constitution or, if they have, sure don’t understand it.
And now we have a clerk in charge of elections in Mesa County charged with felonies for her shenanigans, while being flown around the country by an ignorant pillow manufacturer who levels fantastical claims about how our elections are being “stolen” by shadowy, unnamed operatives who never seem to be identified.
Election workers have a tough enough time. Security for them is not a big ask.
Did the Mesa County Clerk get caught? Yes, and she will most likely pay for her acts. Your “armed thugs threatening to go to voters homes” should be explained in a non fear mongering way. There’s way too much political bias in this paper and the nation for matter. Too many people sensationalizing information instead of just telling the truth and letting people form their own opinions but that’s just my thoughts. Thanks for your reply.
“Political activity is being swallowed by thuggery and dimwit “constitutionalists” who have never read the Constitution or, if they have, sure don’t understand it.”
This coming from the same guy who whined that Douglas County was too white, and thought that a state which had a Democratic governor and Senators in the late 1970s was right-wing.
I’m sensing a trend in your post:
thuggery & dimwit “constitutionalists”
ignorant pillow manufacturer
shadowy unnamed operatives
Jeff Ryan = Adam Schiff, I noticed you didn’t name anyone either. Maybe you’re the shadowy unnamed operative.
LOL! First sentence is a lie followed by more lies.