El Paso clerk cites ‘obviously false’ claims as recount group turns to lawsuit

The El Paso County Clerk and Recorder on Sunday dismissed claims by a group of Republican candidates who lost Colorado’s primary election but claimed they were fraudulent and now claim an election recount is flawed .

The candidates are part of the Colorado Recount Coalition, which includes Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, an election denier who lost her bid for secretary of state in the June 28 GOP primary. Peters and several other candidates in the group obtained recounts of their elections after pay a fee to the electoral authorities.

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Seven of the candidates, all running for local or state office in El Paso County, filed a lawsuit late last week in El Paso District Court against the Secretary of State. Jena Griswold, a Democrat, and El Paso County Clerk Chuck Broerman, a Republican. The lawsuit claims that for each of the candidates, approximately half of the fees they had to pay were for an “unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious” purpose.

Over the weekend, they claimed a test of election machines in El Paso revealed serious problems before the recount even began. The test, called the “logic and accuracy test,” is standard and ensures that optical scanners and other voting hardware are working properly and counting votes accurately. Election officials used a stack of test ballots – 4,200 of them – and the machines reportedly identified about half to send out for human inspection, a process called adjudication. Arbitration is often useful, for example, in the case of undervotes, when a voter chooses a candidate in one race but seems to leave the other races empty. Election judges are regularly called upon to ensure that a ballot is counted as the voter intended.

“They give them a 100% pass mark, when they failed the logic and accuracy test miserably, spitting out a 54% adjudication requirement,” said Jim Wiley, a Peters ally and organizer of the Colorado Recount Coalition.

Broerman, however, said what proponents of the recount called a blatant error rate was actually evidence of reliability.

“The machines do exactly what they’re designed to do, exactly what they’re asked to do in a recount, which is to have human eyeballs,” he said. “But sadly, there are lies coming out of the Tina Peters campaign alleging something that isn’t true, and disparaging the conduct of a recount that is just patently untrue.”

During the test, the electoral system “did not have a single error. We came out 100% perfect. Worked perfectly,” Broerman said.

Peter Lupia, a member of the Recount Coalition who lost the GOP primary race for El Paso County Clerk, during a round table with coalition candidates on Sunday night at Fervent Church in Colorado Springs claimed the machines were working properly, and he accurately described the logic and accuracy testing process for the public. But he questioned the management of electoral staff.

“I’m not advocating what they’re doing in any way, understand that. But what happened was what was supposed to happen, it just happened on a much larger scale than expected and it caught them off guard yet again,” he said. “Fubar”.

Threat of further lawsuits

The recount began on Sunday and the deadline to complete it is Thursday. While the Peters recount is a statewide effort, El Paso is the only county with multiple recounts, and as of last year, it is the largest county in the state by population. , Broerman said.

Peters, who has advanced election conspiracy theories, faces a grand jury indictment for felony for his involvement in a security breach in his county election office during a routine secure software update last year. Although she is the Mesa County Clerk, a judge banned him from supervising the elections.

Broerman said Peters exhibited a lack of knowledge about the electoral side of the county clerk’s job.

“If Tina Peters understood and knew about elections, she would know what a test of logic and accuracy does, she would know how long and how extensive and robust a test of logic and accuracy is,” he said. declared. “Because she does not know her job, she once again demonstrates her ignorance on electoral matters.”

Election observers are allowed to observe the logic and accuracy test, but they must be licensed. This requirement was new to Peters, according to Broerman.

“She didn’t know she had to have an observer form for observers,” he said. “I mean, it’s amazing. How could you not know, as a clerk and archivist, that when someone comes to watch an election, you have to have the candidate or the party sign a form authorizing them to do so? Time and time again, myself and other clerks find things that she just doesn’t know.

Three of the trial candidates have paid their recount costs, approximately $21,000 each. They were Lupia; El Paso County coroner candidate Rae Ann Weber; and Lynda Zamora Wilson, candidate for State Senate District 9. Four of the candidates were unable to pay the full fees. They were Lindsay Moore and David Winney, both candidates for El Paso County Commissioner; Summer Groubert, candidate for State House District 18; and Todd Watkins, candidate for El Paso County sheriff.

The contestants argue in the lawsuit that $10,000 of their recount fees were for “provider programming and support,” and they say the “need for such services is unnecessary and overstated.” This portion of the fee, the lawsuit says, “may already be covered by normal government operating costs,” and passing it on to candidates is “prohibitively expensive.”

Coalition members have hinted that they are planning further litigation. Lupia called the cost dispute “lawsuit No. 1”. The far-right outlet Gateway Expert reported on Saturday that the members plan to file a lawsuit to have the “sheriff” “detain” the voting machines to perform “a forensic check.”

Wiley said the Gateway Pundit story was inaccurate, but he did not rule out further litigation. Peters and other coalition candidates say they don’t trust the Dominion Voting Systems machines that are used in 62 of Colorado’s 64 counties, including El Paso, and had asked for a manual recount.

“When the systems violated the rights of the American people, if you use them again, they are likely to violate their rights again…The continued violation of the rights of the American people must stop immediately,” Wiley said, adding that the team sent a letter to election officials to stop the automatic recount process. “And there may be more things in the future to try to achieve that goal.”

When asked if that would include litigation, Wiley replied, “Maybe. I think it is clear that the law is violated.

The recount is part of a larger pattern of “election integrity” activism in Colorado that began with “stop theft” protests shortly after the 2020 presidential election. Some of the most prominent figures in this effort are involved in the El Paso recount effort, Broerman said. Among them, Shawn Smith, an employee of Colorado Springs insurgent who helps lead Cause of America, an election integrity nonprofit funded by my MyPillow CEO, Mike Lindell; Mark Cook, a computer professional from Colorado who, along with Smith, assisted Republican Elbert County Secretary Dallas Schroeder make copies of the computers of the electoral system; and Ashe Epp, co-founder of the Colorado-based election integrity group US Election Integrity Plan.

About Jessica J. Bass

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