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Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters was elected to the position in 2018. She was the subject of a recall effort after several issues arose, including the discovery of more than 500 uncounted ballots from a previous election found in a ballot drop box outside of the county elections office. (Gretel Daugherty, Special to The Colorado Sun)

The Colorado Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to hear Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters’ appeal of a ruling last week barring her from having a role in the upcoming 2021 election.

Peters’ appeal argued that Mesa County District Court Judge Valerie J. Robison didn’t have the authority to remove her as the county’s designated election official and, thus, prevent her from having a role in the Nov. 2 contest. 

“Colorado law unambiguously mandates that a county clerk and recorder fulfill the duties as the county DEO, and a court may not override this statutory mandate,” the appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court, filed Monday, argued.

Scott Gessler, an attorney for Peters, warned that “if allowed to stand, the district court ruling will fundamentally alter election administration and application of Colorado’s election laws.”

But the Colorado Supreme Court declined to accept jurisdiction in the case.

Peters, a Republican, could potentially take her appeal to federal court, but with the Nov. 2 election fast approaching it’s unclear if there is enough time for her to get a judge to intervene before Election Day. 

Robison’s ruling came after Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat, filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent Peters from having a role in the upcoming election.

“With the Supreme Court’s decision, Clerk Peters remains barred from any involvement in this election,” Griswold said in a written statement Thursday. “As secretary of state, I will always work to provide accessible and secure elections for all eligible Coloradans.” 

Peters, who has spread baseless claims about the 2020 presidential election being stolen, has been under fire since she allegedly allowed an unauthorized person to attend a sensitive Dominion Voting Systems software update in May. Photos of passwords taken during the update were then posted online.

Local, state and federal authorities have launched a criminal investigation into the breach.

Peters is also facing scrutiny after a copy of an election system hard drive from her office was posted on the internet.

Amid the probes, Peters attended a conference in South Dakota held by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, an ally of President Donald Trump who has made baseless claims about last year’s presidential election being stolen. She told Lindell that she is being persecuted, but provided no proof.

The Colorado Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the appeal means former Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, a Republican, will serve as Mesa County’s designated election official for the Nov. 2 contest. County Treasurer Sheila Reiner, who is also a Republican, will serve as the elections director. 

Jesse Paul

The Colorado Sun — Desk: 720-432-2229 Jesse Paul is a political reporter and editor at The Colorado Sun, covering the state legislature, Congress and local politics. He is...