Multiple Jefferson County Republicans believe their local elections have been fraudulent since as far back as 2010.
A current party official and former candidates shared their allegations with Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, who is running to be the GOP nominee for Colorado secretary of state after she gave her own conspiracy-laden speech to the JeffCo Republican Men’s Club two weeks ago.
Peters concluded her prepared remarks by invoking the “red pill” Matrix movie scene adopted by QAnon followers and other conspiracists as a metaphor for their discovery of “the truth.”
“In the popular movie series The Matrix a few years ago,” said Peters. “After the staggering truth was revealed to the hero who was given the choice to take a blue pill and forget all the truth revealed to him and go back into the matrix. Or take the red pill that would help him embrace the truth. This election isn’t just about red and blue, it’s about falsehoods and the truth. My name is Tina Peters and I’m running for Secretary of State.”
Peters remains under investigation by federal, state, and local authorities for her role in the release of Mesa County’s election data to a QAnon-linked website. She is also facing obstruction of justice and contempt charges related to her subsequent interactions with courts and law enforcement. She continues to assert, without evidence, that “globalists who have their thumb on the scales” are rigging elections nationally and here in Colorado, even including last year’s municipal election in Mesa County. Earlier this year the FBI searched Peters house, as well as the home of her campaign manager, Sherronna Bishop, who previously managed Congresswoman Lauren Boebert’s campaign, executing warrants as part of the investigation into the data breach.
During the question and answer session following her speech, local GOP official Terrance Burns asked Peters what they could do about Jefferson County Clerk George Stern, a Democrat whom he accused of administering “multiple fraudulent elections.”
“I’m Vice Chair of House District 23 here,” said Burns. “We want to know what we need to do about George Stern, who has overseen multiple fraudulent elections and has certified all of them, breaking the law each and every time. When you have over one hundred percent of the being 65 to 80 year olds vote in the election in 2020, there’s a problem that they’ve rabbit-holed completely. What can we do as citizens to really get in to him and let him know specifically here in our county that we’re not happy and accountability is coming?”
Peters replied by falsely accusing Stern and other clerks of violating state statute for having their ballot tabulating machines connected to the internet. According to the Colorado Clerks Association, Colorado’s election machines are never connected to the Internet.
Attempts to reach Burns by phone to learn exactly which elections he believes were fraudulent were unsuccessful.
Reached for comment, the Jefferson County Clerk & Recorder’s office offered the following statement:
“We stand by the integrity of our elections, which are run by bipartisan staff and election workers, observed by bipartisan poll watchers, and audited by a bipartisan board comprised of members from both parties,” said Kara Rowland, spokesperson for Clerk Stern. “Transparency is important to us, and that’s why George personally leads tours of our ballot-processing facility for members of the public each election and takes every last question.”
Former Republican house candidate Edgar Johansson, who lost his bid for HD23 in 2010, followed Burns’ allegations by blaming his own loss on election fraud.
“Ten years ago I ran for House 23,” said Johansson. “A seat that Ramey [Johnson] last held as a Republican in that district and Fred Clifford is running currently. When we had that election night -and Russ and everybody that was there will recall- Max Tyler came out of the gate with five hundred votes the minute the election was there. There was no way he could have had those 500 votes. I had zero. He had five hundred. I lost by the difference of 500 votes. We’re talking about this. What’s the action plan to actually step up? Because if they have the power and they’re sitting in the position where they can cheat the way they’re cheating and the way they’ve been cheating for over a decade now, what’s your action plan to make sure they don’t do that to you and every other candidate that’s running in the state of Colorado?”
Johansson actually lost his race by 1,271 votes, not 500 as he claimed. At the time, Republican Pam Anderson was the Jefferson County clerk. Anderson, who has publicly affirmed her faith in Colorado’s safe and secure election process, is also currently running to be the GOP nominee for Colorado secretary of state.
Anderson says that while it was almost twelve years ago, she doesn’t recall anything of the sort taking place in any of the JeffCo statehouse races in 2010.
“The first upload is always absentee or mail-in ballots that have already been scanned, but not tabulated,” explained Anderson. “As soon as the polls close those scanned packets are digitally combined and tabulated, so that an initial batch can be announced almost immediately. For a statehouse race that would be several thousand votes at a minimum, from all across the district, which makes a one-sided count such as Johansson alleges very unlikely.”
Anderson estimates that in 2010 about 70-75% of JeffCo voters used mail-in ballots. She also noted that the ballot canvass board, comprised of representatives of both major parties and election officials from the county and city offices, would have flagged any such tabulation discrepancy in its reconciliation report, which she also doesn’t recall happening. She herself was on the ballot that year, which meant she was restricted from directly handling ballots and some other administrative duties, but says the entire process was overseen by election judges of both parties.”
“As an election official I would be the first one stepping forward to contest my own election if I saw any evidence of fraud,” said Anderson.
She emphasized that voter fraud does happen, and says that just because it is numerically low, that doesn’t mean policies shouldn’t be put in place to reduce it even further. She raised concerns with the state’s automatic voter registration system, which is linked to the issuing of driver’s licenses, sometimes registering non-residents, specifically student truck drivers temporarily in Colorado to train for their commercial driver’s license.
News reporting on the 2010 race for House District 23 makes no mention of fraud allegations.
Former legislator Ramey Johnson, who represented HD23 from 2002-2004, offered her own thoughts on various conspiracies. She related a conversation she says she had with a senior FBI agent last year after participating in a Citizens Academy. She says he refused to answer questions about whether the FBI “was involved with January 6,” whether they were illegally detaining people who weren’t involved with the Jan. 6 insurrection under false pretenses, and whether the agency had covered up any information about the 2017 Las Vegas massacre in which 61 people were killed.
Clerk Peters concluded by making one additional unsubstantiated allegation — that she was actually framed when it was discovered in 2020 that she failed to count 574 ballots cast a year earlier in the dropbox immediately outside of her own office.
“They’ve been trying to take over my office since they stuffed the ballot box with 479 ballots,” said Peters in her speech. “And I have the camera footage of 5:23 p.m. when they swept it clean- the bipartisan judges swept it clean until 7:00 p.m., There were only about 200 that went in that box. But they framed me for that, and then immediately started a recall. This is last year. They were trying to take over the Western Slope for for a while.”
Full video of Peters’ speech and Q&A session, including the claims of election fraud by various Jefferson County Republicans is available to watch on the JeffCo Republican Men’s Club website.