GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX) — Questions around election security are still making headlines but before Mesa County reaches the June primary, it’s still stuck in drama from our last two elections.
It was on March 23rd of this year, that Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters, contacted the District Attorney’s office claiming alleged evidence of unauthorized and illegal manipulation of voting equipment.
It is important to note this investigation is completely separate from the Mesa County’s grand jury’s indictment of Clerk Tina Peters and her Deputy Clerk Belinda Knisley.
District Attorney Rubinstein’s investigation of report three is the third report Clerk Peters gave the 21st Judicial DA’s office.
Peters two prior reports did not allege voter fraud, they only pointed out alleged vulnerabilities. The third report however alleges criminal election crimes which is why the DA’s office investigated, “I want to start with a little bit of background,” DA Rubinstein says.
There have been several local voter fraud allegations, the victims? Citizens of Mesa County, but Commissioner Scott McInnis says report three is unique, “Report number three makes actual allegations that fraud took place in Mesa County,” Commissioner McInnis says, “Fraud has not taken place in this county.”
Election reports one through three stems from forensic images Clerk Peters took of Mesa County’s dominion voting systems she then alleged fraud in the 2020 November general election and the 2021 municipal election, “We pulled the video for both of these elections,” DA Rubinstein says.
Video shows Clerk Peters wasn’t present for the tabulation or judication process but elections manager, Sandra Brown who was fired from the Clerk’s office in 2021, was.
Report three claims a system error broke the chain of data documentation, leaving the true vote count unknown and therefore impossible to authenticate. DA Rubinstein quotes Peters allegation, “Extensive questioning of Mesa County Clerk’s has ruled out human error as the reason for unauthorized creation of election databases on October 21st, 2020 followed by the reprocessing of 20,346 ballots,” Rubinstein reads.
So what really happened here?
While reviewing surveillance footage an error message appears during the judication process in both elections, DA Rubinstein says there are three ways to fix the system, “There is a very basic option, a more serious option, and then there is something I will casually refer to as the nuclear option,” DA Rubinstein says.
That final and nuclear option stops the judication process, “That is not supposed to happen, during an election you should have one continuous judication throughout,” DA Rubinstein says.
District Attorney investigator Michael Struwe looked into the report and Rubinstein concluded, “Sandra Brown did it, and we find no evidence that it affected the election at all,” DA Rubinstein says.
Commissioner Chairman Cody Davis chimed in, “Nobody hacked into the system, nobody created double logs or double files.”
As this investigation wraps up, Mesa County Commissioners message, “You can trust your elections here locally and again this investigation just proves that,” Commissioner says.