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Tina Peters covers $256,000 tab to conduct recount in her primary race

Republican candidate running for Colorado secretary of state lost by nearly 90,000 votes
Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, who was indicted in March on 11 felony and misdemeanor charges related to allegations she and others tampered with secure voting equipment and software, talks to well-wishers at a rally April 5 on the west steps of the state Capitol. (David Zalubowski/Associated Press file)

A statewide recount of votes cast in last month’s Republican primary for secretary of state will be conducted after candidate Tina Peters paid more than $250,000 for the results to be tabulated for a second time.

Peters, the indicted Mesa County clerk known for being a 2020 election denier, lost the primary by nearly 90,000 votes – or 14 percentage points – to Pam Anderson, a former Jefferson County clerk.

The recount must be finished by Aug. 4, per state law.

Peters requested a recount for a second time this week after requesting a retabulation earlier this month but failing to submit the necessary payment. The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office said Peters paid $255,912.33 on Thursday after making the second recount request.

Peters has claimed, without specific evidence, that there was malfeasance in the primary. “I have reasons to believe extensive malfeasance occurred in the June 2022 primary and that the apparent outcome of this election does not reflect the will of Colorado voters,” she wrote in a letter to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office.

She cited her win in April at the Republican state assembly, where about 3,500 GOP delegates picked their party’s primary candidates – a fraction of the number who voted in the June 28 election – as a reason she should have won the primary. Peters also claimed the results of unscientific straw polls at Republican events indicated she would win the primary.

Peters requested that the recount be completed by hand, but state officials say that would be against the rules. Instead, ballots will be tabulated in the same manner they were counted the first time – by machine.

A recount will also be conducted in the Republican primary in state Senate District 9, which is based in El Paso County, at the request of candidate Lynda Zamora Wilson, who lost by nearly 10,000 votes to state Sen. Paul Lundeen.

Zamora paid about $20,000 to make the recount happen.

“The recounts will be conducted in accordance with the law,” Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat, said in a written statement.

An audit of the 2022 primary results has already been conducted. It confirmed the election results.

Several other Republican candidates who requested recounts this week – including state Rep. Ron Hanks, an election denier running for U.S. Senate – failed to submit payment for the retabulations.

Peters was indicted in March on 10 counts, including allegations of attempting to influence a public servant and criminal impersonation. The charges stem from a security breach of her county’s election system last year surrounding a sensitive election software update.

The Colorado Sun is a reader-supported, nonpartisan news organization dedicated to covering Colorado issues. To learn more, go to coloradosun.com.