County Clerk Rejects Misconduct Settlement, Grand Jury to Probe Alleged Election Tampering

A day after Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters rejected a settlement offer from the state that would've allowed her to return to her duties overseeing elections, Colorado officials announced the opening of a grand jury investigation into months-old allegations of a security breach of elections equipment.

A grand jury accepted the case late Wednesday and the Colorado Attorney General's office released a joint statement with the Mesa County District Attorney's office, according to The Associated Press.

The joint statement does not name specific targets of the grand jury investigation, but Peters and other associates have been the subject of lawsuits and investigations relating to the alleged security breach from Colorado authorities for months, according to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.

Last May, a secure room in a Mesa County building was reportedly accessed by Peters, who allegedly let a non-employee into the room. Soon after, photos of voting equipment and the software used in state elections surfaced on far-right websites.

After the photos were discovered, Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold sued to have Peters and a deputy, Belinda Knisley, removed from their duties overseeing elections. The lawsuit successfully prevented Peters from overseeing the elections that took place in November, the AP reported.

Peters has since become an advocate for those who believe the claims of former President Donald Trump that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent, although she maintains the votes in Mesa County, which voted for Trump, were safe and secure.

Colorado Tina Peters Mesa County Elections Security
Election judges verify and count ballots at the Denver Elections Division building on Nov. 3, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. A grand jury agreed Wednesday to hear the case of an alleged election security breach in Mesa County, Colorado. Chet Strange/AFP via Getty Images

Wednesday, Peters rejected an offer from Griswold's office that would have allowed her to resume her election duties under strict supervision, provided she "completely repudiate, retract and disavow" several previous statements she made about elections and voting machines, according to the Daily Sentinel.

In a recent Facebook Live event, Peters reportedly said "we've got to get those machines so they are transparent to the people and they're not able to do what they're designed to do," as reported by the Daily Sentinel.

She refused the settlement because it would require her to go against her beliefs by repudiating those previous statements.

"Please name one time in the history of the world in which the side demanding you 'repudiate' your beliefs, especially beliefs for transparency, in exchange for return of your rights, have been the good guys," Peters said in a Wednesday news release reported by the Daily Sentinel.

The newspaper also reported that because Peters rejected the offer, Griswold may petition the state's courts to permanently bar her from being able to oversee elections.

A grand jury accepted the case Wednesday, and the joint statement did not provide details as to when the grand jury will begin hearing evidence or what charges the investigation will be based on.

"This investigation will be thorough and guided by the facts and the law," the statement reads, according to the Denver Post. "More information will be made available when the prosecutors are ethically and legally permitted to provide additional details."