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November 05, 2021 10:06 AM UTC

ICYMI: Tina Peters is Some Sort of Wizard

  • by: Colorado Pols
Heidi Ganahl and Mesa County Clerk and Recorder/Wizard Tina Peters.

We couldn’t let this week come to a close without making sure to address an incredible post-election story from Charles Ashby of The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. As Ashby reports, with an appropriate amount of skepticism, “embattled” Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters apparently possesses some sort of magical powers bestowed on her by Zeus himself (or, at the very least, “MyPillow Guy” Mike Lindell).

As you may recall, Peters and her deputy, Belinda Knisely, were prohibited from having any involvement in the 2021 election in Mesa County on account of the fact that they are being investigated by numerous local, state, and federal agencies (including the Mesa County District Attorney and the FBI) for allegedly breaking into their own secure election facilities in order to try to prove that Joe Biden stole the 2020 election from Donald Trump.

Peters is very salty about not being allowed to interfere in another election. She has voiced her anger in bizarre press conferences and as part of a mob of weirdos who regularly scream at the Mesa County Commissioners. On Wednesday, Peters made a new claim about her prowess in overseeing elections. As Ashby reports for the Sentinel:

In an email sent to all county workers early Wednesday, Peters wrote that one of her election managers, who currently is on paid administrative leave while investigations are underway for possible criminal wrongdoing by Peters and some members of her staff, would have posted the final results of the fall election almost immediately after the polls closed. [Pols emphasis]

In response to the email sent by Mesa County Treasurer Sheila Reiner, who along with former Secretary of State Wayne Williams have been tapped to oversee the fall election instead of Peters, the clerk claimed that one of her election managers, Sandra Brown, would have done a better job.

“Tabulation expert, and election manager, Sandra Brown would have had the final election results at 7:01 p.m., not 2:40 a.m. as we have been the first county of 64 counties to have our election results out in the last 4 elections before this one,” Peters wrote in an email response to Reiner and the entire county staff.

Is being a “tabulation expert” a different thing than being good at counting?

Anyway, Ashby does some quick fact-checking on Peters’s claims:

For Brown — or Peters — to have “final” results at 7:01 p.m. would have required election judges to pick up all remaining ballots at the various drop boxes located around the county at 7 p.m., transport them to the Elections Division by two election judges, have those judges verify signatures on the ballot envelops, tabulate them and then report results to the Secretary of State’s Office.

All that would have to be done in a single minute. [Pols emphasis]

This isn’t the only problem with Peters’s claim. Republican Sheila Reiner, the former Mesa County Clerk and Recorder who was tapped (along with former Republican Secretary of State Wayne Williams) to oversee Mesa County’s 2021 election process, also reminded Ashby that “final” election results aren’t actually possible to achieve on Election Night because officials still must tabulate ballots sent by overseas and military voters, among other things. Check out Ashby’s story for a colorful quote from Williams on the impossibility of any of this happening at 7:01 pm regardless.

But perhaps our favorite part of this story comes near the end:

[Peters] did appear at the clerk’s office Tuesday evening and helped herself to dinner that was meant for election workers, claiming that she paid for it, sources inside the clerk’s office said.

You’d think that someone with Peters’s magical powers could have at least conjured up something to eat.


15 thoughts on “ICYMI: Tina Peters is Some Sort of Wizard

  1. "For Brown — or Peters — to have “final” results at 7:01 p.m. would have required election judges to pick up all remaining ballots at the various drop boxes located around the county at 7 p.m., transport them to the Elections Division by two election judges, have those judges verify signatures on the ballot envelops, tabulate them and then report results to the Secretary of State’s Office."

    OR…just skip all that pointless counting and post the "correct" result. Boom! Everyone goes home at 7:01!

  2. Did anyone bother to go back and check what the Mesa County clerk's office actually did in the previous elections?  A statement like "we have been the first county of 64 counties to have our election results out in the last 4 elections before this one” is falsifiable.  Colorado allows election workers to begin counting early:

    Counting of the mail ballots may begin fifteen days prior to the election and continue until counting is completed. The election official in charge of the mail ballot counting place shall take all precautions necessary to ensure the secrecy of the counting procedures, and no information concerning the count shall be released by the election officials or watchers until after 7 p.m. on election day."

    So election officers can all put out a press release of ballot counts at 7:00 pm.  Which would exclude all of the ballots deposited in drop boxes and voting centers after the last pick-up. 

    Of course, Tina Peters was in charge of an election that didn't get the last 500+ ballots until three and a half months —

    AP:  February 21, 2020 at 12:35 p.m. | GRAND JUNCTION — An elections clerk in a western Colorado county found nearly 600 ballots for the November 2019 election that went uncollected — and uncounted, she reported this week.

    “This is a very serious offense and I wanted to let people know,” Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters told The Daily Sentinel.

    The 574 ballots were found Tuesday in a drop box outside the election office in Grand Junction by staffers who were picking up the first ballots returned for the March 3 presidential primary, Peters said.

  3. It doesn't matter if you are fast with an answer if the answer is wrong.  The deflating thought is that if she isn't doing a lengthy stay in prison, she will be the odds on favorite to win re-election.

  4. It’s pretty easy to have a quick answer if the answer ignore the actual votes and just says, “Republicans win.”

    It’s exactly what the Republican Congress plans to do in 2024: Declare Trump president again by fiat. They’re going to do it, and nothing is going to be able to stop them.

    1. “nothing is going to be able to stop them”

      Lord knows the Democrats won’t even bother trying.

      After Bush v Gore, Garland, etc we’ve pretty well established that the Dems will hand over their lunch money without a peep.

      For almost a year now, the GOP has been systematically building a machine for stealing the next election, putting pieces in place up and down and across – from low level elections administration roles, to anti-democratic state laws, to an army of angry deranged poll-watchers, and God knows what other dirty tricks they are preparing.

      The school board sh*t-show was just a trial run for unleashing the zombie army.

      The Dems are countering this mob of barbarians massing at the gate with… well… something something about Manchin.

      1. The “school board shit show”, as you call it, was not a monolithic GOP victory. In spite of Bannon , the   CRA and their ilk, in Colorado at least, we strengthened the teacher and student-friendly school boards in Jeffco, Denver, Cherry Creek, and half the Aurora seats.

        Dougco, El Paso and the Springs schools saw conservative board “victories” – meaning that teachers will now have to watch out for parent complaints when assigning literature by black, Latine, or Asian authors, or teaching history from points of view other than the victor’s. 

        Coronavirus will rampage through schools with no mask, vaccination, or testing mandates. Teachers will leave those schools. Substitutes will refuse to come to work there.  Students will be quarantined. Those communities will suffer, including innocent children who have no political agendas. Darwin will take his due. The laws of earned consequence will apply.

        The battles have been won and lost on several fronts, and the culture war rages on. It will be fought in board rooms and classrooms and sidewalks. 

        The only relief I can see is if Bannon is finally locked up for his many crimes, and if  “parents” and professional agitators start serving sentences for threatening school board members. Election officials are facing the same crap. We’ve been promised that help is on the way from the Federal level. But so far, the help has consisted of studying the problem, and suggesting that local law enforcement take the threats seriously. Will anti-vax, anti-mask police arrest these domestic terrorists? Will we start seeing prosecutions for violating civil rights? 
        If not, you may be right about the lunch money. 

        1. Yes, happily, the conservatives did not win all the battles they initiated.  But of course that wasn't really the intent.  The intent was to re-energize their base, provide some new crap to be outraged about, and open a new front in the culture wars.  And on this they succeeded wildly.

          As for Bannon, he's an example of my point.  The Democrats are satisfied to let justice run its course, or not.  If he was Democrat, the Proud Boys would have already kidnapped him and executed him on the National Mall.  It's also certain that if convicted, Trump will pardon Bannon in 2025.  And the Dems will barely raise a peep.

          1. Trump won’t be in any shape to pardon anyone in 2025. If Letitia James or the many other legal  eagles  don’t get him, then his age, obesity, and dementia will. Of course he’s grifting off promises to run in 2024. Grift is his entire income these days.

            Trump also promised to win the war in Afghanistan, the trade war with China, build a border wall which Mexico would pay for, cure Coronavirus, etc. ad nauseum. Those promises died on the vine.

            Trumpism, on the other hand, is very much alive. 

        2. Agreed that results in Jeffco Aurora and Cherry Creek are commendable.

          Denver, howver, where both my kids and grandkids attended excellent charter schools, is now 7-0 controlled by a teacher union clique ferociously opposed to school reform.  This bodes ill for my grandson, who is in 9th grade at DPS.

          The teacher unions are ardent defenders of the status quo.   Against a Bannonite Fascist assault, they are vital allies.   But they are unwilling to support the charter schools that have kept so many kids — including our family– engaged in what is otherwise a sea of mediocrity.

          When Tay Anderson is the most forward thinking person on the board– and we may well be down to that — in deep doo doo we are, Yoda says.

          1. Union teachers aren’t necessarily anti-charter, V. 
            But we do want money and resoutces allocated first to make neighborhood schools better. That’s what our Jeffco Slate ran on, and voters responded.

            Your grandson should have been able to get an appropriate education at his neighborhood school. My granddaughter, living in Adams14, a high-poverty, environmentally devastated district, should  have better options than the Adams 14 system that  lost and regained  its accreditation last year. 

            For the rest,  you’ve heard my anti-charter rant before- charters undermine unions with lower pay and exploitative working conditions; they lure kids with IEPs in for the Counts, then dump them back into public schools when they are troublesome; students are whiter and richer than the communities they draw from, mostly because they don’t often offer free bus rides, and not all parents can ferry them back and forth. 

            So I tend to agree with the notion of levelling the school finance system first- it’s outrageous that a school in one zip code might have fully staffed tutoring centers and equipped STEM labs- while the neighboring one can’t afford basic tech or books, and kids shiver or roast in classrooms with antiquated HVAC . 
            After that, untangle the Tabor knot and finance schools like we care about them. Do better than 44th on the list of states. Then prioritize neighborhood schools, offering some of the programs and options that a charter would. 
            That would be up to the Boards and Building Directors, as well as parents expressing needs.

            1. In Denver, kw, the teacher unions foam at the mouth about charter schools.  And while I realize you are post-reality on this subject Charter SchooLs are public definition anf by law.

              And we are only 44th if you go by education week, which grades by taxes as a share of personal income.  We’re 37 or 38 (I’ve seen both)  by the usual standard of dollar per student.

              I think we saw in Virginia how the left’s motto of “Pay your taxes and shut the fuck up” plays with voters.

  5. Pretty sure I’ve worked in many more charter schools than you have, as a substitute. ( 8/21 of  Jeffco’s Charters, and a few of the 17 “option schools”, as well. ) I know quite well how they operate, and certainly know that they are publicly funded – just have to inspect my meager “guest teacher” paychecks. My own kids attended “ option schools” within DPS. 

    You’re resurrecting an argument you “won” from several years ago. The issue was resolved. Unless they are religious or specifically private charters, district charters are publicly funded.  . Colorado Education law is friendly to charters and option schools. Everyone understands this.

    As far as the current slate of DCTA- backed candidates who won their elections, ( Gaytan, Olson, Qattlebaum, and Esserman) only Esserman took an anti-charter stance: 

    During the forum, Dia asked all the candidates a series of yes-or-no questions, requiring them to answer first by a show of hands….

    ….Lastly, Dia asked the candidates if they believe the DPS board should “fairly and equitably include charter schools in the services, funding and facilities they provide all their schools.” Every candidate, except for Esserman, raised their hand.

    “No question that there have been charters that have had tremendous positive impacts on communities,” said Esserman, adding that he has enrolled his child in a DSST charter school. “But I’ve also watched as charter schools that were serving the community were forced to close … so I can’t say there was an overwhelming positive impact.” 

    Esserman has also stated in a Chalkbeat interview that he would prioritize direct-to-school funding, instead of expanding the district’s “Choice” system. 

    The other victorious DPS Board candidate that spoke on charters was Xochi Gaytan. She said,

    Charter and innovation schools: If existing charter schools and innovation schools are working well for students and families, Gaytán said she’d support them. 

    But if a new publicly funded but independently run charter school asks for approval to open, she said she’d “have to seriously consider whether or not that would be a better option. It’s important to me to protect public education and to ensure that we are wisely using tax dollars … so that we’re reallocating funding to our neighborhood schools to make them successful.”

    Two out of 7 Board members questioning funding for new charter schools might irritate you, but it’s hardly “teacher unions foaming at the mouth” about charter schools. Charters and options are enshrined in Colorado law. Nobody’s trying to change that law, nor district compliance with it ( except some far right activists who tried unsuccessfully to obtain public dollars for religious schools).;

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