“This is not about Republican and Democrat,” Mesa County, Colorado, Clerk Tina Peters told the audience of election conspiracists. “They try to make it so it seems they’re dividing one party against the other, but it’s not that at all. It’s the globalists who have their thumb on the scales. … So it’s important for us to bring everybody into the fold to let them know what’s going on.”
Peters, a Republican, is under federal investigation for election-related charges and is also running for Secretary of State. She and other election fraud conspiracists in the Colorado Republican Party gathered in Colorado Springs Saturday for an all-day celebration of the Big Lie.
Billed as the Colorado Election Integrity 2.0 Hearing, the event featured numerous in-person and remote speakers, including Peters, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, and members of the Colorado-based conspiracy group U.S. Election Integrity Plan (USEIP), and its new Lindell-funded national counterpart, Cause of America.
State Rep. Ron Hanks (R-Cañon City), who is running for U.S. Senate, served as emcee.
All of the speakers believe some version of the Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Trump via a massive conspiracy involving Democrats, China, “deep state” bureaucrats, and election machine company Dominion Voting Systems.
The nearly five-hour event took place in Colorado Springs at Fervent Church, a ministry led by Pastor Garrett Graupner, who also heads the “Faith” pillar of FEC United, a far-right conspiracist group with militia division. The event was planned for Denver, but moved to Colorado Springs after Central Christian Church, which had initially agreed to host the conspiracists, backed out.
According to Hanks, Central Christian Church cited security concerns for its decision not to host the event, though on Telegram, FEC United leader Joe Oltmann blamed 9News’ press inquiry to the church, calling it “bullying.”
It’s unclear if the last-minute change of venue prevented Trump attorney and former University of Colorado visiting professor John Eastman, author of the infamous “coup memo,” from participating. Neither he nor Arizona state Rep. Mick Finchem, both of who were listed as featured speakers, appeared.
Finchem’s absence was also notable because he’s part of another group that organized the event, Conservatives for Election Integrity, a political action committee led by Nevada state assemblyman and SOS candidate Jim Marchant.
CFEIPAC supports a slate of election conspiracist candidates for Secretary of State in several states, including Colorado. These “America First” SOS candidates, including Colorado’s relatively unknown Dave Winney, are running on a platform of “election integrity” based almost exclusively on the Big Lie conspiracy.
Maurice Emmer, a non-practicing attorney and conservative gadfly from Aspen kicked off the morning session. Emmer provided an update on Hanks v. Griswold, a lawsuit filed by Hanks, Douglas County Clerk Merlin Klotz, Elbert County Clerk Dallas Schroeder, and a few county commissioners, demanding an independent forensic audit of Colorado’s 2020 election results, a la the discredited Arizona “fraudit.” (Hanks has dropped his name from the lawsuit, though he still supports it.)
The legal filing, which is based on USEIP conspiracy theorists’ unsubstantiated allegations, has resulted in a counter-suit by the SOS against Clerk Schroeder. In an affidavit he submitted with the lawsuit, Schroeder admitted to making a copy of his county’s election data with the help of USEIP’s Shawn Smith, and then giving it to an unnamed attorney.
MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who is funding election conspiracist work by Smith and other Coloradans, was up next.
Easily the biggest name of the day, he essentially endorsed Tina Peters, first asking rhetorically, “Having Tina Peters run for Sec of State, how awesome is that?”
Later he predicted her victory, saying, “She is gonna be the best Secretary of State.” He also called her the “prototype of people who we should have running for office.” He also briefly mentioned his decision to hire Smith and other USIEP members, saying “What a perfect fit!”
Following Lindell’s enthusiastic if somewhat disjointed speech, Tina Peters and USEIP’s Shawn Smith took the stage together.
Peters justified her decision to copy Mesa County’s secure election data, which eventually appeared on a QAnon-linked conspiracy blog. She also referenced a sealed report on the state of Georgia’s election equipment, implying that it somehow proves that Colorado’s elections were rigged, despite the fact the report doesn’t address the 2020 results, doesn’t claim that there’s any evidence tampering has ever occurred, and is authored by the same expert who debunked the conspiracy that votes were flipped in Antrim County, MI, which USEIP conspiracists still insist occurred.
Peters and Smith paused to let another Colorado-based conspiracist, Draza Smith, present slides of animated charts — purported graphs of Wisconsin voting records. Saying she’s a licensed professional engineer in control systems, Draza Smith said the 2020 election galvanized her interest in politics.
“I saw what everyone else was seeing, with numbers appearing to flip. And going to bed and things didn’t go with how math should go,” said Smith.
Her insistence that the change in vote totals reflected in batch-counted ballots shows evidence of ballot counting that isn’t “organic” or “normal” appears to reflect either a fundamental misunderstanding of how ballots are tabulated at the state and county level or simply an unwillingness to accept the results.
Draza Smith baselessly claims the counting of votes proves the election “wasn’t tabulated but calculated,” rigged via “database manipulation and good ol’ fashioned ballot stuffing.” This is a debunked conspiracy theory. Her presentation is an inscrutable Gish Gallop of numbers and stats that imply authority simply by virtue of their mathematical appearance.
After lunch, Tina Peters and Shawn Smith returned to the stage to promote more conspiracies, mostly based on arguing that various states’ election machines could have been hacked and then using the results (Trump losing) as proof that it happened.
In addition to her “globalist” conspiracy referenced above, Peters also addressed her latest charges of obstruction of justice, calling her arrest “police brutality in the worst way.”
USEIP/Cause of America staffer Shawn Smith, began by revisiting his previous comments about Secretary of State Jena Griswold. Last week at a similar event in Castle Rock, he suggested Griswold deserves to hang if she has committed the election fraud he insists she’s guilty of.
Smith attempted to revise his statement.
“What I said was, ‘Anyone involved in election fraud should hang, as a result of due process.'” explained Smith to the crowd.
Technically, in his Castle Rock speech, he began by saying he was for due process [listen here], and then said, “If you’re involved in election fraud, you deserve to hang.” He then accused various media outlets of misrepresenting him and said that he’s filing criminal affidavits against them “all day long.”
Smith’s post-lunch slide deck focused on various technical aspects of voting machine software and hardware that he says have vulnerabilities that hackers could exploit, but he offered no proof that any such crime occurred.
He made one argument that appeared to show he lacks a basic understanding of how elections are counted. He wondered rhetorically why Colorado’s 2020 presidential election results were called almost immediately after the polls closed, while another statewide issue, the ballot initiative on wolf reintroduction, took several days before the outcome was known.
This isn’t complicated. Biden won Colorado by a landslide, and the early voting totals, which were counted by not made public until the polls closed, reflected that result. National media experts did the math and realized Trump wouldn’t make up the difference and called the race for Biden. The wolf issue, on the other hand, was very close and therefore all the votes had to be counted before a winner could be declared.
Either Smith doesn’t understand this, in which case he should take time to learn more about the election process, or he does understand this and is deliberately misleading his audience.
The day concluded with a Q&A session that featured other Republican candidates, including the aforementioned Dave Winney and El Paso County Sheriff hopeful Todd Watkins, who has promised if elected to investigate allegations of fraud in El Paso County elections, which are currently run by GOP Clerk Chuck Broermann.
Video of the presentations, although without the hour-long Q&A session, is available online at the ACCFEI website.