Colorado’s secretary of state filed a lawsuit Monday to remove the clerk of Mesa County from her role overseeing elections because the clerk is under criminal investigation for allegedly allowing a security breach of election equipment.
Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat, filed the lawsuit in Mesa County District Court. Griswold can unilaterally require supervision of county elections, as she did in Mesa County earlier this month, but needs a judge’s order before taking the additional step of preventing county clerks from overseeing elections.
Monday’s lawsuit is the latest fallout from an alleged security breach at Mesa County’s election office. Griswold believes that Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, a Republican, allowed an unauthorized man into a secure room in May. Images of the county’s election equipment passwords and hard drives were later posted online and presented at a conspiracy theorist conference that Peters attended.
The alleged breach is under investigation by the FBI and the Mesa County District Attorney’s Office, with assistance from the Colorado Attorney General’s Office. Griswold’s office also investigated the matter and determined that Peters likely allowed the breach to occur May 25.
The lawsuit seeks to appoint Wayne Williams, Griswold’s Republican predecessor, as Mesa County’s top election official for the November elections and give Sheila Reiner, Peters’ Republican predecessor, the position of elections supervisor. On Monday, the Mesa County Commission approved a contract that will pay Williams $180 per hour to do the job. Reiner is currently the county treasurer.
Peters, meanwhile, has been traveling outside of Colorado because she says she has received threats and fears for her safety. Mike Lindell, the CEO of MyPillow who believes the 2020 presidential election was rigged by voting machines, has said that he is helping her move between states and providing security for Peters.
Peters did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday and has not responded to requests for comment since leaving the state Aug. 9. She was a guest on Lindell’s online show last week and criticized investigations into her.
“For weeks, the DA has been sending his people out to interview my employees, both present and past. The employees have felt very intimidated by this and the questions they’re asking them are to try to dig up — to see if they were dissatisfied with me or my chief (deputy),” Peters said of the Republican district attorney.
“If they’re looking for something, they’re going to find something,” she added.
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