COLORADO, USA — Two primary candidates failed to meet the deadline to pay for recounts they requested for their races and instead submitted new requests asking for hand recounts, the Secretary of State's (SOS) office said.
Those requests by Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters and Colorado Rep. Ron Hanks were subsequently denied by the Secretary of State's office because, under current rules, the recounts must be conducted in the same manner as the original election.
Peters, who is currently under indictment related to an investigation into election equipment tampering, lost her bid in the June primary to become the Republican nominee for SOS. Pam Anderson is now set to face current SOS Jenna Griswold in November.
Hanks was defeated in his primary effort to become the Republican nominee to challenge current Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet. Instead, Joe O'Dea will face Bennet in the general election.
Neither of the races met the state's qualification for an automatic recount but they were requested by Hanks and Peters. That means the "interested parties", in this case, Peters and Hanks, were required to pay for the recounts.
After getting the recount requests the SOS office said they gathered data from all 64 of the state's counties and estimated the cost of each recount to be $236,279.37. Those funds had to be paid on July 15 in order for the recount to proceed. If they were not received by that time, there would be no recount, the SOS office said previously.
On July 20, the SOS confirmed they never received funds from Hanks or Peters, but did receive letters requesting new estimates for hand recounts. However, under a rule implemented by a prior administration, the SOS said a recount must be conducted in the same manner as the original election, meaning tabulation equipment must be used.
The SOS responded to both candidates by saying that if they wished to proceed with a "tabulation equipment" recount they'd have to submit a new notarized request before July 26 along with funds for the recount.
> Peters' request for hand count is below:
In Peters' letter, she indicated that "no fair or trustworthy recount could be conducted using the electronic voting systems," due to the "significant indications of malfeasance" she found.
Hanks claimed in his letter that the voting systems used violated federal law due to "unmitigated security vulnerabilities" that were identified by a Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency.
In response, the SOS office said those systems were not in use in Colorado.
> Hanks' hand recount request is below:
The SOS provided the following statement regarding the hand recounts.
The Secretary of State’s Office has received letters from Ron Hanks and Tina Peters requesting cost estimates for hand recounts. The letters make a number of false allegations regarding Colorado’s election security and integrity.
Unequivocally, these allegations are false. The Republican Senate and Secretary of State Primary race were each audited, and the results were confirmed as accurate by bipartisan election judges.
The Secretary of State’s Office followed all statutes and rules regarding requests for recounts and Mr. Hanks and Ms. Peters chose to not provide the certified funds as required under law. Coloradans made their voices heard and candidates should accept the results of a secure and fair election – not spread disinformation.
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