Tina Peters’ quarter-million-dollar recount gains her 13 votes

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.

Colorado has wrapped up a statewide recount of the GOP primary race for secretary of state which left the result unchanged. 

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters requested the recount and accused the election of being rigged after results showed her losing by a wide margin to former Jefferson County Clerk Pamela Anderson. 

Peters gained 13 votes in the recount, as did Anderson. Mike O’Donnell, who narrowly got third in the race, gained 11 votes.

“The recounts are complete and confirm once again that Colorado elections are safe and secure,” said Secretary of State Jena Griswold. 

Peters lost the June Republican primary for secretary of state by 88,579 votes, or around 14 points. Candidates can request a discretionary recount but have to foot the bill for it; state rules say candidates must pay for any recount when the margin is more than 0.5 percent. 

Out-of-state donors covered the majority of the $256,000 cost for Peters’ recount. She got a huge influx of money on the day she went on Steve Bannon’s podcast to appeal for funds. Peters had made election fraud claims central to her campaign. Peters is currently facing ten state charges of election tampering and misconduct stemming from her effort to try to uncover voter fraud in Mesa County’s voting machines. Peters argues everything she did was within her legal jurisdiction as clerk. 

Matt Crane, a Republican and head of the Colorado County Clerks Association, said even though it was legal for Peters to ask for a recount, he found it disgraceful that she pursued one when the race wasn’t close.

“She has found it to her advantage, and to the advantage of other election deniers, to perpetuate conspiracies rather than facts,” said Crane in a statement. 

“The recount she asked for showed she lost, just as our post-election audits already held in every county and certified by volunteer citizen canvass boards found. Clerk Peters’ attempt to concoct a reason for this recount is window dressing for the larger effort to undermine confidence in our elections.”  

A request for comment from Peters’ campaign was not immediately returned. 

The Secretary of State’s office attributed the slight change in vote totals in part to an error in Elbert County. Last week Elbert County Clerk Dallas Schroeder discovered 37 unopened ballots that were not included in the original count. Those ballots had been mistakenly placed in a bin of undeliverable ballots that were returned from the United States Post Office.

When the recount for secretary of state began, the state ordered Elbert county to process those 37 ballots.

The state said it was worth noting that no state or local primary was close enough for this additional handful of ballots to change the outcome for any candidates in other races 

In addition to the statewide recount, El Paso County also conducted a recount for the Republican primary race for State Senate District 9, on the request of losing candidate Lynda Zamora Wilson. It resulted in the winner of that race, state Sen. Paul Lundeen, gaining 1 vote. Wilson, who lost the race by about 33 percentage points, did not gain any votes.