Tina Peters Is Counting Out Again, But She Rarely Reverse Election Results

DENVER — A statewide recalculation will take place next week after Tina Peters came up with the money to pay for it earlier this week.

Peters had requested the recount twice and emailed different county clerks asking for the hand count. He was arrested last Thursday and released on bond after being accused of sending an email to the director of elections that violated a court order not to contact the office.

Peters submitted $255,912 to pay for the recalculation, which must be completed by August 4.

At Denver election headquarters, employees spent Friday keeping dozens of ballot boxes out of vaults and into the counting room. Normally, this room is quite empty in the month of July after a busy primary election.

“The process is simple. We’re going to run our picks like we always do,” said clerk and recorder Paul Lopez. “The first step is as always, we’re going to test our equipment in early testing for accuracy. are. It’s called our logic and accuracy test.”

Denver expects to run about 127,000 ballots through its scanners for recounting. Paper ballots are retained for 24 months after the election.

A bipartisan group of staff and election judges are being called back to office to participate in a recount, which will begin over the weekend and early next week.

Recalculation can happen in two ways; If the election is close, a recount is automatically triggered and paid for by the state. If the election is not near, candidates can request a recount, but they are also expected to pay for it, as in this case.

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Recounts paid by candidates are extremely rare, so are statewide recounts.

Lopez said, “Ever since I’ve been a clerk, I’ve never recounted and I don’t think the last time…—I think the last time we recounted was 20 years ago. “

That detail was still up to Governor Jared Polis. In 2000, he ran for the State Board of Education and won by 90 votes. An automatic recount was introduced and Democrats decided to pay an additional $11,000 for further recounts. Recalculations confirmed that Polis won the race.

This time, the tab for recounting was much higher as the request for recalculation was made so close to the deadline. Another difference between now and 22 years ago: Peters lost his election by 88,578 votes. Detecting substantial vote count discrepancies by the number of votes cast would be utterly unprecedented in Colorado.

“We are very confident with our accuracy, we are very confident with our results with the safety, the election and the outcome of the election,” Lopez said. “All we have to do is convince the losers that they have lost once again, we will do that.”

They do not expect any major change in the results.

So if recounting is not likely to reverse the election results, what’s the point of recounting? Metropolitan State University of Denver political science professor Robert Preahs says there are many reasons for these candidates, such as continuing the narrative. These campaigns are fueling mistrust in the election process.

He estimates that there will be some small variation in the results but not enough to make any real difference. However, this may be reason enough for candidates who are already questioning the election to continue to distrust the process.

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“What’s going on is that you’re looking for any kind of discrepancy. So, if there’s 100 votes here, there, look, that’s evidence that there’s a problem with the election system,” Prehs said. “Again, none of that is true. We’re going to see some variation in the results of the original elementary calculations and recalculations, and that will always happen.”

However, Preahs worries that fostering antitrust in the Colorado elections will cost more than money in these recounts.

“I think it is really dangerous. I mean, what you are doing is really sowing seeds of mistrust in the government,” he said.

Distrust can also lead to a cycle where candidates are accused of being illegitimate and then distrusted of whatever policy they work on, which leads to stalemate, leading to more mistrust. .

“Once we understand that these are not legitimate procedures, there are a lot of reasons for people to act outside the process, outside the electoral system,” Prehs said.

Nevertheless, recounts requested by candidates are part of Colorado’s general election process. Clerks across the state are now gearing up for that recalculation. Lopez hopes the results will be enough to convince candidates that the elections are safe and reliable.

Another candidate, Linda Zamora Wilson, also paid for the recount and will receive one. She ran for Senate District 8 against State Republican Sen. Paul Lundin, which represents Monument, El Paso and Colorado Springs, among other locations. Wilson paid $20,819 for his calculation.

Recalculations are required by state law to be completed by August 4.

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