Several hundred people gathered at the state capitol Tuesday for a rally in support of embattled Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters, who has been indicted on ten counts related to her efforts to try to uncover what she claims was fraud in the 2020 election.
Four Republican state lawmakers spoke at the event, which was headlined by Mike Lindell, the CEO of MyPillow who has become a leading purveyor nationally of false claims about election security.
“I came to Colorado today because you have here in Colorado the key to the whole nation,” he told the crowd, “because you had a great county clerk, Tina Peters, (who) did her job.”
Peters is accused of helping an unauthorized person make images of her county’s voting machine hard drives and take pictures of passwords last year during an annual system update. The information was later leaked online, causing the state to decertify Mesa County’s machines and a judge to ban Peters from overseeing the 2021 election.
“Everybody has a part to play in this. Everyone has a calling. You are born for such a time as this,” Peters told the crowd to loud cheers. “They want you to shut up. They want you to sit down. They want to pat your little head and say, ‘nothing to see here, move along everybody.’ And we're too smart for that. Aren't we?”
Peters is running to be Colorado’s top election official; she is seeking a spot on the ballot at this weekend’s Republican state assembly in Colorado Springs. If she prevails in the GOP primary race against former Jefferson County clerk Pam Anderson, Peters would go on to challenge Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold in the fall.
The capitol rally also served as a chance for Peters to pitch her campaign, and she and Lindell also hosted a fundraiser later in the day. Required donations ranged from $650 for VIP seating to $1,250 for additional time with Peters or Lindell.
Sheila Brown from Arvada attended the rally with a group from her church, but said she’d have to skip the fundraiser; “I don't have that kind of money right now, but I would love to go.”
Brown said she came to listen and support people like Peters who she believes are “standing for freedom.” After the event she waited in line to get a picture taken with Lindell, calling him a “great American patriot.”
Peters’ legal troubles — the state charges she’s already facing and the ongoing federal investigation into her actions — have not dampened Brown’s support.
“I happen to know as a Christian that people that stand for righteousness get attacked severely and usually by the other side," Brown said. "And I believe she'll sail right through that and win.”
In rally surprise, Lindell served with papers
Lindell is facing his own legal challenges. He’s being sued for defamation by Dominion Voting Systems, the Denver based election equipment company that is at the center of false claims that it rigged the 2020 election for Joe Biden.
The company provides voting equipment to most of Colorado’s counties, as well as more than half of the states in the country, including swing states like Georgia.
As Lindell walked toward the capitol stairs to address rallygoers Tuesday, a burly man in a windbreaker and Afghanistan Veterans cap pushed a manila envelope into his hands.
The process server was delivering legal papers alerting Lindell to a new defamation suit, this one on behalf of former Dominion employee Eric Coomer. Coomer has been personally targeted, accused without any evidence of being the mastermind behind the plot to rig votes for Biden, forcing him into hiding shortly after the 2020 election.
The suit argues that Lindell called Coomer a traitor, among other things.
“He has claimed, without evidence, that Dr. Coomer committed treason and that he should turn himself in to the authorities," the lawsuit states. "Defendants have published these numerous false statements, defamatory interviews, and other dishonest content maligning Dr. Coomer on the website frankspeech.com often alongside a sales pitch for products from MyPillow.”
Frank Speech is Lindell’s online broadcast platform. The website and Lindell’s company MyPillow, Inc. are also named in the defamation lawsuit.
Coomer, who categorically denies any role in election fraud, has also sued Rudolph Giuliani, the Trump campaign, several pro-Trump media outlets and others. Coomer’s attorneys say his reputation has been tarnished to the point that he can no longer work in the elections field.
Lindell briefly addressed the new lawsuit when he took the stage in Denver.
“I just got papers. Thanks, Eric. Now Eric (Coomer) will be the first one behind bars when we melt down the (voting) machines,” he said to the crowd.
Clerks push back ahead of rally
Days before the rally, Colorado county clerks from across the political spectrum tried to get their own message out to the public: that the state’s elections are secure and accurate.
“It is … a fantasy for them to think that something's wrong here,” said Denver Clerk and Recorder, Paul Lopez. “We are gonna defend our state. We're gonna defend our democracy and everything that we've ever fought for.”
Lopez, a Democrat, was joined at Sunday’s press conference by some of his Republican and unaffiliated counterparts from around the state.
The clerks noted that Colorado is an all-paper ballot state, making it easy to double-check election results against machine tallies. (Not all ballots are hand-marked; counties do provide electronic voting machines, in particular, to allow people with disabilities to vote independently, but that equipment prints a paper ballot).
Weld County Clerk Carly Koppes, a Republican, said clerks are developing initiatives to make the voting process more transparent, like putting scanned images of each voted ballot online, to allow members of the public to do their own reviews of results.
Audits and hand counts in Colorado and other states have consistently shown that machine tallies match the paper ballots counts.
The federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency called the 2020 presidential election the most secure in American history, concluding, “There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”
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