Tina Peters out on bond after turning herself in and spending an hour in jail

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Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Colorado Secretary of State candidate, Republican Tina Peters, in Sedalia at the Wide Open Saloon for a primary night watch party on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. Peters lost the primary race to Pam Anderson.

Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters turned herself into the Pitkin County Jail Thursday night.

A warrant for her arrest was issued in Mesa County after she sent an email to county clerks asking for a hand recount in the GOP primary race for Secretary of State. 

Peters, a Republican, lost the primary race and does not accept the results of the election

According to documents from the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, Peters paid a $1,000 bond and was released after spending about an hour in custody.

Peters was accused of violating a restraining order that bars her from contacting employees from the Mesa County Clerk and Recorder's Office. The email included Brandi Bantz, the director of elections for Mesa County. 

Earlier this year, Peters was indicted on ten counts of tampering with election equipment and misconduct as she pursued unsubstantiated claims of fraud in the 2020 election. Peters has said her efforts were meant to increase confidence in the county's voting processes and maintains that she did nothing wrong or illegal.

Hand counts and audits have confirmed the accuracy of the 2020 presidential election in Colorado and other states.

An arraignment for that case is scheduled for Aug. 5 in Mesa County District Court before Judge Matthew Barrett. 

When asked to comment about the latest warrant, Peters said in a text to CPR News Thursday, “harassment by Barrett,” and said her next steps would be to “expose these criminals.”

While Barrett didn’t issue the latest arrest warrant, he did handle Peters’ case last week in which she was almost arrested for violating her bond when she went to Nevada despite Barrett’s order banning travel. That arrest warrant was canceled after Peters’ attorney took responsibility for Peters’ violation, saying he had failed to tell her about Barrett’s order barring out-of-state travel. Prosecutors didn’t object.

In a Facebook live video Thursday evening Peters said the mass email to counties asking for a recount inadvertently included Bantz of Mesa County.

“If they can do this to me, folks, they can do it to you,” she said in the video. “My only crime, which is not a crime, is to expose their crime. So they're trying to point the finger at me to get me to shut up, back down, go away. And if they have to keep arresting me and throw me in prison, that's their goal.”

Conservative political activist Sherronna Bishop was recording the video with Peters and asked Peters’ supporters to file ethics complaints against Judge Barrett and Judge Valerie Robison, who signed the latest arrest warrant over the potential restraining order violation. A hearing is not set in that case.

“We need a lot of ethics complaints coming from the people regarding these judges,” Bishop said. “And what else can people be doing? I mean, the price tag of this whole battle is growing of course. And we do need people to be fighting with their dollars too.” 

The Colorado County Clerks Association previously said Peters had no standing to ask random counties for a recount in a race that wasn’t close.

Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold denied Peters’ request for a statewide recount unless Peters was willing to pay for it, which is the practice if a race doesn’t fall within a narrow margin of error. Peters failed to pay for the recount in time.