A new bill introduced in the Colorado Senate March 11 appears to be tailor-made to address the behaviors exhibited by Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters that led to her 10 criminal indictments last week over election tampering, including seven felonies. If she’s convicted, she could go to prison.
House Bill 22-153 (pdf), titled “Internal Election Security Measures,” would shorten the amount of time newly-elected clerks have to get certified to run elections from two years to six months. The required courses include information in voter registration and list maintenance, accessibility, coordinated elections, mail-in ballot and in-person voting processes, voting systems testing, risk-limiting audits, canvassing, and election security.
Peters never got the state-required certification to run elections
Tina Peters never obtained the certification required by the state to run elections, even though she is now in the last year of her four-year term as Clerk. The required curriculum educates clerks in how voting equipment and systems operate.
Pueblo County Clerk Bo Ortiz, President of the Colorado County Clerks Association (CCCA), called SB22-153 “the most important elections-related policy push since voters approved mail-in voting in 2013.” He added,
“Recognizing that low-information election officials make for easier targets for grifters and bad actors, we fully support for them to receive their state election certification before they run a major election.”
In addition, the bill
- prohibits anyone from serving as a designated election official who has been convicted of an election-related offense or conspiracy to commit sedition, insurrection, treason, or conspiracy to overthrow the government;
- prohibits people involved with elections from “knowingly or recklessly making, publishing, broadcasting, or circulating any false statement for the purposes of promoting misinformation or disinformation related to the administration of elections;”
- prohibits any contact with voting equipment or devices, rather than just physical contact;
- prohibits any elected official or candidate for elective office in a jurisdiction with a population of 100,000 or more accessing, or being present in a room with voting equipment without being accompanied by at least one other person who has authorized access;
- prohibits the creation of, or disclosure of an image of the hard drive of any voting system or component to anyone without the express written permission of the department;
- requires all voting equipment be kept in a location that is controlled by use of a key card access system and kept under video security surveillance recording;
- specifies that “an authorized person who knowingly publishes or causes to be published passwords or other confidential information relating to a voting system will immediately have their authorized access revoked and is guilty of a class 5 felony.”
- The bill also penalizes anyone who interferes with a person who notifies superiors of any potential violations of election laws, or who tries to obstruct a person from notifying superiors of a potential violation, or who retaliates against a person for providing such notice.
50 of 64 counties support the bill
Executive Director of the Colorado County Clerks Association, Matt Crane, said the elected clerks from 50 out of Colorado’s 64 counties support the bill.
Secretary of State Jena Griswold said of the bill,
“I don’t think we were thinking about insider threats before Mesa. We have lots of safeguards, but the idea that someone elected to uphold elections would try to destroy from within was shocking to the election community in Colorado.”
In response to the bill’s introduction, Tina Peters told TV station KRDO of Colorado Springs:
This is not “an elections bill, this is an attempt to further limit transparency into Colorado’s election process. Soros operative Gestapo Griswold’s Senate Bill 22-153 is a bald attempt to prevent anyone from knowing how our voting systems work…” —Tina Peters, Mesa County Clerk and Reporter
A week ago, the Colorado Republican Party called on Peters to suspend her campaign for Secretary of State after she was indicted on crimes pertinent to election tampering, criminal impersonation and identity theft.