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Secretary of State Jena Griswold has filed a lawsuit against current Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters to prevent her from running elections in that county. Peters is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) for her failure to protect the voter data computer password from people unauthorized to access the information.

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold. Photo courtesy of Ballotpedia.

An investigation by the Secretary of State’s office also determined that Peters told county staff to turn off required video surveillance a week before a routine May 25 software update to the county’s election system and that it wasn’t restored until July.

Peters, a Republican, has slammed the Secretary of State’s probe and has perpetuated former President Donald Trump’s “Big Lie” that fraud occurred in the 2020 election. She has refused an order issued by Griswold to turn over election equipment, video footage, and documents after a password to the county election equipment surfaced online. That caused Griswold to declare that the election equipment would need to be replaced because the chain of custody could not be verified.

In the lawsuit, Griswold, a Democrat, also asks the Mesa County District Court to appoint a two-person team to handle the election. She named former Secretary of State Wayne Williams, the Republican she unseated in the election three years ago, as the county’s designated election official. She named Mesa County Treasurer Sheila Reiner, Peters’ Republican predecessor as county clerk, as elections director.