The controversy raging in Mesa County over a breach of election systems security currently the subject of local and federal criminal investigations, as readers know, has its origins in the fervent belief by a substantial percentage of Republican voters across the nation that the 2020 elections were stolen from ex-President Donald Trump. In an attempt to prove this occurred despite all of the counts, recounts, certifications, and litigation surrounding last year’s elections establishing clearly that no election fraud on any scale that could change the outcome of the election took place, Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters stands accused of allowing an unauthorized individual access to secure Dominion Voting Systems computers, from which copies were made of proprietary software and then distributed to far-right conspiracy theorists including possible “QAnon” movement progenitor Ron Watkins.
Just days after this breach was publicized on the conservative blog Gateway Pundit and investigations began, Clerk Peters jetted off to a conference in South Dakota hosted by “MyPillow Guy” Mike Lindell, billed as a “Cyber Symposium” that Lindell claimed would produce “absolute proof” so compelling that Joe Biden himself would willingly step down. We still don’t know if this bombshell evidence was supposed to come from “packet captures” that Lindell insisted proved fraud, which turned out to be completely indecipherable gibberish, or the data stolen from Mesa County. Either way, no such “absolute proof” emerged from Lindell’s “Cyber Symposium” or any other source. Since that event, Clerk Peters has been in hiding in an undisclosed location at Lindell’s expense while the FBI and the local DA continue to investigate the data breach in her office.
One of the passengers on Lindell’s private jet flying Clerk Peters to South Dakota last month was Sherronna Bishop, who served as now-Rep. Lauren Boebert’s campaign manager during the Republican CD-3 congressional primary in 2020. Boebert has been oddly silent about the controversy in Mesa County involving so many of her known associates, but Bishop is well-known on the Western Slope as a thought leader among an unhinged and increasingly militant regional far-right movement that believes COVID is a hoax, the 2020 elections were rigged, and civil war is right around the corner. As the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports in a story that everyone who doubts the outcome of the 2020 elections should read, Bishop was given a wide-open chance yesterday to prove something–anything–consequential about the data that was stolen. This would, among other things, be very helpful in a defense for Clerk Peters from potential felony charges.
“If you and Tina have these images, why didn’t you go to law enforcement,” Commissioner Janet Rowland asked at the meeting. “If you cared about election integrity, wouldn’t you go straight to the district attorney?”
Neither Bishop, nor her experts, could answer other than to repeat unproven accusations and calls for a forensic audit of the machines.
“The centralizing of our voting systems has been a major contributor to this, what we think is a lot of fraud,” Bishop said. “So, when you’re asking us to trust and go to people who are not willing to admit there’s even a potential for fraud in Colorado, that’s just not accurate.
“Those (elections) companies have far more manpower and money, have tech-savvy people to protect their systems, and yet you guys would try to have us believe, us dimwitted little hickerbillies, that there’s no fraud here in our machines,” Bishop added. “It is possible. It has happened.”
This reportedly went on for over an hour and a half, with Mesa County’s Republican commissioners and former GOP Secretary of State Wayne Williams repeatedly asking for the evidence these people say is irrefutable, only to be told that the “evidence” is part of the criminal investigation so it can’t be disclosed–as if that mattered when they stole it–and that it’s the state with the burden to disprove allegations that the accusers can’t even themselves credibly lay out.
We’ve been critical of Williams in this space, but it’s hard to argue with his sentiments after yesterday’s meeting:
“Your parents promise you toys for Christmas,” Williams told The Daily Sentinel after the 1 1/2-hourlong session ended.
“Excited, you arise early in the morning to see what might be under the tree,” he added. “There is nothing. You ask your parents what happened, and they explain how there was a theoretical possibility there could have been something.” [Pols emphasis]
Like Mike Lindell’s “Cyber Symposium” but with less media coverage, here was a golden opportunity for the election 2020 “truthers” to finally make their case–to lay out once and for all their theory of how the election was rigged, and how the data they’ve stolen and otherwise aggregated proves that–or for that matter, anything nefarious whatsoever.
And there. Is. Nothing.
Millions of Americans, some sincerely misguided and others who simply don’t want to play the game of democracy after they lose, insist the 2020 election was stolen with absolutely no rational basis for that belief. A growing number are openly threatening violence based on conjecture that breaks down every time it is subjected to critical analysis. When given the microphone and a the unhindered chance to make their case, we learn the simple truth: they have no case. Rarely in history has the nation’s time been so preposterously wasted, yet also so dangerously.
Indeed there is a very important lesson to be learned in Mesa County.
But it’s not the lesson Sherronna Bishop thinks she’s teaching.