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Judge rules Tina Peters can't oversee Mesa County's upcoming elections

She's running to oversee Colorado's elections, but Tina Peters will not be allowed to run elections in Mesa County, where she's the clerk.

DENVER — A judge on Tuesday barred Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters (R), an outspoken proponent of baseless election conspiracy theories, from overseeing the county's primary and general elections in 2022.

While Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold (D) does not have the authority to unseat a county clerk, she sued to stop Peters and her deputy, Belinda Knisley, from supervising the elections because of allegations they tampered with Mesa County's voting equipment in 2020.

District Court Judge Valerie Robison supported the secretary of state's petition, saying Peters and Knisley "have committed neglect of duty and are unable to perform the duties of the Mesa County Designated Election Official."

Brandi Bantz, the county's election director, will now oversee the upcoming elections.

Peters and Knisley both face criminal charges for allegedly interfering with the county's Dominion Voting Systems software in an attempt to find proof of voter fraud. Court documents say they gave an unauthorized person access to the technology, which resulted in confidential software passwords showing up online.

Mesa County subsequently ordered new Dominion equipment to use in future elections.

Earlier this year, Griswold's office presented Peters with an option to oversee the 2022 elections under certain terms, including supervision while accessing election equipment. Peters rejected that offer.

This is now the second time Peters has been barred from overseeing an election. The first was in 2021. 

Griswold is running for re-election in 2022. Peters is vying to become the Republican candidate to challenge her.

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