DENVER — Tina Peters and Ron Hanks did not submit the money to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office last Friday to pay for the estimated cost of a recount in their respective primary elections – which both handily lost – and instead asked for hand recounts, which will not happen.
Denver7 reported Monday that the two failed to send the $236,279.37 in estimated recount costs to the Secretary of State’s Office by 5 p.m. on Friday as was required by law. But the Secretary of State’s Office said Wednesday that both had requested hand recounts of the election and shared letters their campaigns sent to the office on Friday.
“The letters make a number of false allegations regarding Colorado’s election security and integrity,” the Secretary of State’s Office said in a statement. “Unequivocally, these allegations are false. The Republican Senate and Secretary of State primary race were ach audited, and the results were confirmed as accurate by bipartisan election judges.”
Peters and Hanks are both election conspiracy theorists who have for nearly two years been spreading unfounded and sometimes false information about the 2020 election and election security in Colorado. Calling for hand-counted ballots in elections has become common among people spreading these similar conspiracy theories around the country.
Both candidates, in their Friday letters (Read: Hanks, Peters), reiterated things from their original recount requests that were untrue regarding Dominion Voting Systems machines in Colorado and state statute. As was the case with their original recount requests, both letters sent to Secretary of State Jena Griswold’s office on Friday use nearly identical language.
“I hereby object to your proposal to conduct the requested recount via the electronic voting systems used for the original count, request that you revise your plan to ensure conduct of a recount by hand count of paper ballots, request that you acknowledge and state your intent to fulfill my request for specific records to be provided to canvassing boards, pursuant to CRS 1-10.5-107(3) and in light of apparent material deficiencies in SCORE accuracy and integrity and advise any resultant changes in the aggregate of individual cost estimates from each county,” the letter said.
But Judd Choate, the director of the Colorado Secretary of State’s Elections Division, sent Peters and Hanks letters Tuesday saying they were wrong about the statute and elections rules and offering a second chance to pay the $236,279 if they want a recount that is conducted “in the same manner as the original ballot count,” as statute requires if there are not discrepancies in the bipartisan risk limiting audits counties conducted post-election, which there were not, according to the office.”
“Should you wish to go forward with the recount allowed under state law and rule, you will need to resubmit a notarized written request to our office before the July 26, 2022, statutory deadline, followed by payment of the cost of the recount,” Choate told both campaigns.
Neither campaign has close to that much money to pay for such a recount. Peters lost in her Republican Secretary of State primary by 14 percentage points and 88,000 votes to Pam Anderson. Hanks lost his Republican U.S. Senate primary by nearly 10 percentage points and 57,000 votes to Joe O’Dea.
“The Secretary of State’s Office followed all statutes and rules regarding requests for recounts and Mr. Hanks and Ms. Peters chose to not provide the certified funds as required under state law,” the Secretary of State’s Office said in a statement. “Coloradans made their voices heard and candidates should accept the results of a secure and fair election – not spread disinformation.”
Additionally, the Colorado County Clerks Association said Wednesday that on Tuesday morning, county clerks across the state got an email from Peters saying she would request a hand recount from only selected counties, but she did not say which counties.
“Clearly, Peters’ request is part of a larger effort to create chaos, disrupt, and cause doubt in our elections. Voters already sent a resounding message to these people by ensuring that election deniers on the ballot across the state were rejected,” Crane said. “This seems like just another stunt to try and seem legitimate. At this point, rather than trying to continue to deceive Colorado citizens with her election lies and lack of knowledge, we encourage Tina to let the true election professionals in Colorado continue to do the work that voters elected them to do, which is run accessible, secure, and transparent elections for Colorado citizens.”